FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER
It is interesting in today’s Gospel, Mark 1: 29-39, that the demons recognized who Jesus was. However, Jesus told them not to reveal who he was. Because evil recognizes the good of the Gospel and those who live it and spread it, evil will try and destroy any vestige of the Gospel. So often people are not aware or ignore the values and moral principles that should guide all of society, whether that is in politics, social media, education, economics and the domestic arena. Evil has misled people into thinking that God must be kept out of most of our activities. Some people think that God is some kind of threat whose name cannot be mentioned.
America has pretty much become an atheistic looking country. In the quest for freedom and justice the country reflects the idea that religion is some kind of threat to these values. Perhaps religion has not always stepped up to plate, but it grows and refines itself and has become the voice for the poor, disenfranchised, suffering and rejected people. Perhaps Christians need to look at their complacency. Have you ever thought, “As long as I can do what and be what I want, why prevent others from doing what they want? That’s freedom? Right?” Well, this attitude has strong boundaries. Freedom only extends to the next person nearest you. It’s very limited and a communal agreement.
St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 9: 16-19; 22-23 reflects on the way in which he serves and shares the Gospel. He releases his freedom to become all things to all people. He faces his fears and sets forth what he believes will really free people to be the best possible persons they can be in the light of the Gospel.
We may feel like Job of the Old Testament, who lost everything, even though he was a God fearing man. As we seem to lose more and more ground in combating poverty, racism, runaway politics, etc., we can persist in sitting in this “dung heap,” like Job and trusting in God’s providence. This does not mean that we are not active, but exemplify the persistent presence of the Gospel in these challenging times. If you have not read the Gospels recently or ever, this is a good time to crack open that Bible. It has power of itself to heal. Ash Wednesday is next week, so we can already prepare ourselves for this holy time.
Among all the saints this week one stands out – . Josephine was Sudanese-born (1869) former slave who became a Canossian Religious sister and worked in Italy for 45 years. This African flower knew the anguish of being kidnapped and enslaved. She is considered the patron of all those who suffer slavery and human trafficking.
“Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.” Psalm 147: 1-6
Sister Rosemarie Goins, Director