February 20, 2017

Feb. 20

February 20, 2017:  Monday, 7th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Owl' pin:  Wisdom comes from the Lord (1st reading)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  Who can number the sand, raindrops, or days of eternity? (1st reading)
  • 'Ruler' tie bar:  Who can explore heaven's height, earth's breadth, or the abyss's depth? (1st reading)
  • 'Dove' pin:  The Lord created wisdom through the Spirit (1st reading)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  The Lord is king (psalm)
  • 'Alps' tie pin:  Jesus came down from the mountain (gospel)
  • 'Car' pin:  Jesus' disciples couldn't 'drive' out the evil spirit (gospel)
  • 'Fire' pin:  The evil spirit often threw the boy into the fire (gospel)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  Jesus took the boy by the hand (gospel)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

Never go down the road of revenge or resentment.  Instead, pray for those who want to do evil; it's the Christian path to holiness and brings peace.  Jesus explained the tools needed to travel this road.  "Don't resist evil"; that means no revenge.  A heart full of resentment takes away my holiness.  “You'll pay for what you did to me” isn't the language of a  Christian.  No; God tells us to pray for those who slander us.
The wars we see in the news is the same hatred you have in your heart for that relative.  To forgive from the heart is the road of sanctity.  If God is merciful, holy, and perfect, so must we be.  One who is deserves to be canonized.  The Christian life is simple.  Prayer is an antidote against hatred, against war.  If someone doesn’t  like you, pray for them; powerful prayer overcomes evil and brings peace.

  • Sir 1:1-10  Wisdom comes from the Lord.  Who can number raindrops or the days of eternity or explore heaven's height or earth's breadth?  Wisdom was created before anything else.  The Lord created her through the Holy Spirit and poured her forth upon every living thing.
  • Ps 93:1-2, 5  "The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty."   You made the world.  Your decrees are trustworthy.
  • Mk 9:14-29  “Teacher, here's my son, foaming at the mouth, possessed by a spirit your disciples couldn't drive out.” / “Everything is possible to one with faith.” / “I believe; help my unbelief!” He drove the spirit out and raised the boy. To disciples: “This kind can only come out through prayer.”
    • Creighton:  Today's 1st reading reminds us of God’s infinite love, power, and wisdom, limitless even regarding my life, our political arena, and how we hurt each other.  May I remain hopeful that God’s wisdom pour forth in today's hopeless situations, old grudges, and violent aggressions.  The reading reminds us of our smallness, God's greatness, and his wisdom poured upon all creation.  Do I trust God's power and wisdom in my daily life?  I sometimes act like my wisdom or experience supersedes God's; I think I can fix situations without relying on God.  The gospel miracle doesn't take place till the boy's father declares faith in Jesus.  What do I need to ask Jesus for help with?  What healings am I grateful for?
      The Exorcism
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Distress management":  Jesus expressed exasperation to the crowd for their lack of faith.  When we're around people who lack faith, are we distressed and do we speak as Jesus did?  Jesus challenged the father's faith, raised its level, then taught his disciples to expel demons by prayer....
    • Passionist:  The father is desperate to help his boy.  He argues with the disciples because he brought his son to be cured but they couldn't cast the spirit out.  Was he telling them to try harder, or calling them phonies.  Hear his discouragement when he cries out, “I believe; help my unbelief!”  He wants to believe but is struggling with his dashed hopes.  Later, Jesus tells the disciples the spirit can only come out through prayer (his or the boy's father's?)  It’s easy to get discouraged, even overwhelmed, by failures or dashed hopes, but Jesus shows such compassion to this father, who felt he lacked the faith.  Jesus, help me believe and trust you'll give me what I need in spite of my lack of faith.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "All things are possible to a believer":  In today's gospel Jesus' disciples brought disappointment to a pleading father because they couldn't heal his son.  Jesus' apparently stern response was actually compassionate.  He was dismayed with their lack of faith and concerned to meet the boy and his father's needs.  Jesus challenged the father to believe.  Prayer and faith go together: "Where faith fails, prayer perishes.  Who prays for something he doesn't believe in?  Believe so you may pray, and pray that the faith by which we pray not falter" (Augustine).  The Lord gives us his Spirit that we may be able to ask our Father for help.
    When Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, the boy first seemed to get worse.  "Though it was the boy who fell, it was the devil in him who was in anguish.  The boy was merely convulsed, while the awesome judge was convicting the spirit.  The captive was detained, but the captor was punished.  Through the wrenching of the body, the punishment of the devil was made manifest" (Peter Chrysologus).
    Jesus' works and signs demonstrate that the kingdom of God is present in him and the Father sent him; they invite belief in Jesus as Son of God and Savior.  His exorcisms anticipate his victory over "the ruler of this world."  Jesus can deliver us from any affliction....

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