February 6th, 2023

The Gospel according to Mark (6:53-56)

After making the crossing to the other side of the sea, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there. As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him. They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.

Reflection: Is there some sickness or issue that you want Jesus to heal you of? Can you put yourself among the many in this scene who need healing? This sickness or issue could be physical, spiritual, or mental. No matter where we are in our lives, we often find ourselves needing some type of healing. Is there something we are carrying that may not be obvious to anyone else? Perhaps we can recognize our need for prayer in this situation and furthermore to walk with God in this difficult journey.

I probably mentioned this before but this past September I went on a Marian Pilgrimage. One of the locations that we visited was Lourdes, France. Of course, just like everyone else, us pilgrims went with our own list of healing for ourselves as well as a list of healing for our family and friends. Additionally, you go to a sacred place like this in search for some sign or authentication. You search for that cloak that you can touch to spare you from your troubles. So, in anticipation, you attend everything that you can handle. You go to the night processions, you go to mass, you pray, you meditate, and you go to the “Healing Bath”, you engage with the people from all over the world and much more. In contemplation, you wonder who are healed? Who are the lucky ones? Are they sitting next to you? It makes you wonder and then you are happy for them. At some point, while sitting on the grounds of this sacred place, I realized that the VIP’s are not the rich or famous but the physically handicapped, the people with life-threatening illnesses, the mentally ill, and the elderly. This is a place where they are put in front of the line (literally). This is a place where they are the famous and they are treated accordingly with volunteers pushing them around in wheelchairs and rolling cots. This is a place where there is no separation or no margins of social groups. You could just feel the peace in the air. I am not referring to silence or serenity, but I am referring to the peace where everyone present has common objectives and beliefs. We are all joined together as one group, one family in unity with each other and Jesus Christ. People with different beliefs, different cultures, from different parts of the world, with one common principle … God and His Word. This discipleship brings us into both friendship and partnership.

These people came to Lourdes by the thousands. Just like this Gospel today. They came to Jesus in large numbers because they wanted something from him, a cure for themselves or their sick. We come to prayer often with our needs. We can come to prayer also to know what we might do for Jesus, or what he might do through us. We are grateful for both these callings, knowing that every time we meet the Lord, we are healed and strengthened.

Sick people can recognize goodness and sincerity when they see it. Maybe that’s why they went in crowds to Jesus, as well as hoping for a cure. Something of the divine went out from him, something that can lift us to hope and courage in bad times. In prayer we bring that ‘sick’ side and weak side of ourselves to God, knowing it is never untouched by our prayer. And that’s what we ALL were doing there at Lourdes. We were praying for those family and friends that needed to be lifted up to Christ. We were carrying the cross of our brethren.

Action of the Day: Lent is just around the corner, now is the time to start thinking about the sacrifice(s) that you will commit to. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to give something up, you can give something too. I don’t mean monetarily either.

Audio Reflection:

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