We are glad that you found us, the DEACON-5! Here, we will be posting daily Gospel reflections, Mondays through Fridays, each day written by a different permanent deacon in our group. We pray that you find inspiration and a touch of God’s love for sharing some time with us. Please feel free to leave a comment or a prayer request for us!
Blessings to you all! Deacon Ray Gallego, Deacon Steve Hillmann, Deacon Paul Machuca, Deacon George Mora and Deacon Chuck McDaniels
Jesus entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath so that they might accuse him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up here before us.” Then he said to the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent. Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death.
Reflection: Today we witness another Sabbath controversy! Mark tells the story brilliantly and makes it easy for us to be there. Try to visualize the scene as people gather for worship in the synagogue, as we would during Sunday Mass. As we become one of them, we see and listen to what they are saying; observe what is happening and can feel the tension. Will Jesus heal the man with the withered hand or not? Who will win the argument: Jesus or the Pharisees? Emotions continue to rise.
Mark doesn’t tell us how Jesus felt towards the man with a disability; he leaves that to our imagination. But he does describe how Jesus felt towards the Pharisees: anger and grief at their hardness of heart. They prefer to observe a legal code than to be touched by the difficulty of a fellow human being. They are callous and uncaring. They do not love their neighbor as themselves. Their values, at least in this instance, are the direct opposite to those of Jesus.
We see in this Gospel story how Jesus had to deal with a lot of opposition to his simple plans to create a more caring and just world for people to live in. If you wish to encounter this aspect of Jesus’ life, you might listen to him express his care for you in an area of your life in which you experience yourself in conflict with others. Dwell with his sensitivity and compassion for you, rather than any advice he might offer you. You might let him say to you, “I know exactly how you feel for I have found myself in exactly the same situation as you are in”.
As I visualize being there with Jesus in this scene, I wonder, what would I have done in regard to the man with the withered hand? Is my heart heartened? Am I rightly angry when people are despised? Do I channel my anger towards healing? The people of power conspired on how they would destroy Jesus. I ask you to be with those who ‘disappear’ because they are a threat to some system of injustice. The anger of Jesus is His passion for life. Can we, ourselves imagine how Jesus wants to brush away whatever it is that holds us back from living fully as he calls us to life and compassion. Jesus, the Pharisees critically watched you and missed seeing what you were really doing.
Action of the Day: Lord, today, we ask that you open our eyes to see all the love you show us, the many ways you do good and save life, but especially how you have redeemed us all. Let us never be hardened by a judgmental attitude. Let us never miss seeing your love because we think too highly of ourselves.
As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain. At this the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry? How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
Very early in Mark’s Gospel, we see the tension rising between Jesus and the religious leaders of His day – the scribes and the Pharisees. Those individuals were all about the many (hundreds!) of rules that people needed to follow in order to be good and observant Jews. That, in itself, is not a bad thing. The place where Jesus conflicts with them is in their focus on the enforcing of the rules, rather than the love from within one’s heart that is the reason for the rules.
It comes down to judging others by what we perceive to be how they may not be abiding by the rules of the faith. Judging is not our job. Our responsibility is to live a life of faith, to love others, and to leave the judgment up to God. It’s a good reminder in my own life. If I focus on whether or not I am living a life of faith and mercy and love, then it doesn’t matter whether someone else is doing it (or if I perceive it to be the case). In the end, I can only impact my own thoughts and motivations, not anyone else’s. If I live a life of example, then maybe others may see it and consider if it’s a good example for them to emulate. Whether they do or not, it’s not up to me.
I think that’s the lesson we can take from the Gospel today about Jesus being the “lord of the sabbath”, and how we are called to honor God in our own way, wherever we are in our walk of faith. If each of us seeks to live a little bit closer to God – praying a little bit more, loving a little bit more, being a little bit more kind – what an impact would we see? May our Lord help us to focus on being the best child of His that we can be, and that we seek to love a little bit more perfectly today than yesterday, and then a little better than that tomorrow.
Action for the Day: Ask God to show you one small act of kindness and love that you can do today, and then go and do it!
We are now including audio recordings of our reflections. If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below!
The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to Jesus and objected, “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”
Reflection: I recall a time when I was in elementary school, I used to love to play with my friends. And I would come home with torn pants at the knees. Back then, iron-on patches were the best and cheapest fix in my household. The problem was that I hated the patches because they weren’t cool. Additionally, I tore my pants so often that my mom taught me how to iron on my own patches. So one day, I was blessed and the Holy Spirit said, “Have you ever thought of ironing your patches on the inside of your pants? Hmm? Ironically, now torn jeans are cool and is the thing to wear.
Our bodies are much different today than they were in High School. Today we have more body mass, less hair on top, more hair in odd places, our joints aren’t as flexible or as lubricated as they used to be etc. Our bodies were once the new wine skins that were adaptable with new unfermented wine. The new wine skins (our young self) will change and expand with new wine but old will NOT change and become brittle and can no longer keep the new wine.
The word “change” normally refers to new beginnings that is presented to us. But the mystery of transformation more often happens not when something new begins, but when something old falls apart. The pain of something old falling apart invites the soul to listen at a deeper level, and sometimes forces the soul to go to a new place. Change happens, but transformation is always a process of letting go, living in the confusing, shadowy space for a while.
While change can force a transformation, spiritual transformation always includes a confusing reorientation. It can either help people to find new meaning or it can force people to close and slowly turn bitter. The difference is determined precisely by the quality of our inner life, our practices, and our spirituality. Change happens, but transformation is always a process of letting go, living in the confusing, shadowy space for a while. Then one morning after much discernment, the transformation happens. We were able to renew and become pliable in today’s world.
Action of the Day: We ask for prayers for the men and women of DEACON5 as we commit ourselves as disciples of Christ and allow CHANGE to happen in our lives.
Tomorrow, January 17th, marks the first Anniversary of DEACON5! That’s right, one year ago we launched the website and daily reflections. It is truly an honor, and we are so Blessed to be able to proclaim The Word of God to you. We Thank You for your continued support and loyalty. In an effort to increase more followers to our site, we will be making some upgrades to the site such as:
Added a new auxiliary member to the D5 family, Dn. Ray Emnace from Holy Trinity Church in Los Angeles.
Beginning tomorrow, we will be adding an Audio version (proclaimed by each deacon) of the Daily Reflections so you can listen to it while driving or working.
The instructions on “How to” access the audio version will follow.
Audio Reflections will also be posted daily on Spotify and Apple Podcast. If you have the App just search for “Deacon5”.
We are implementing a “Couple’s Week”. This is a time when the deacon’s and, the heartbeat of our ministry, our wives will do the Daily Reflection. Launch date is scheduled for Monday, February 14thwhich is Valentine’s Day.
We are in the process in setting up a D5 presence on other social media and linking it to the D5 website. We will keep you posted on the updates.
Guest deacons will also be invited to do a Reflection.
Please pray for us as we continue to pray for you and your families. May Our Lord Jesus Christ embrace all of you with His fullness of Grace and May Our Holy Mother engulf you with her mantle.
When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”—he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”
Reflection: There were so many people coming to Jesus that there was no room for everyone, not even around the door to the house He was in. This is an interesting situation. On a practical note, why wouldn’t Jesus have noticed this dilemma and done something about it? Why not move out into a larger area where everyone could see and hear Him?
Certainly, those who came to listen to Him, even if they could not get in, were greatly rewarded for their faith. This passage reveals a very important spiritual principle. It reveals that the spiritual longing to be near Jesus was, in and of itself, transforming.
We may often find that we long to hear Jesus speak to us, but we cannot seem to hear Him. It may be that He appears silent to us or that we don’t know where to find Him. But we shouldn’t be disheartened if this is our experience. The fact of the matter is that our desire to be with Him is itself a great gift and has the potential to transform our lives.
Action: Take time today to thank God for listening to your prayer. Remember, that you are not the only one bending God’s ear today! Whatever time you spend in prayer asking God to listen to – spend twice as much time listening to God speak to you. Please don’t interrupt His conversation back to you! Let Him be in your heart and soul!