Why is it that Levi, rather than the religious keepers of the law, responded so generously to the invitation of Jesus? Because he desperately wanted what Jesus has to offer. He finds grace irresistible. At times are we unbending, too much concerned with the wrongs of others, too caught up in what really does not matter, too quick to judge others rather than wanting what Jesus has to offer.
As friends brought a paralytic to Jesus and Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘your sins are forgiven.’ This story reminds me of the power of prayer, especially our prayer for others. When we decide to pray for someone, be sure that we do pray for them. At times, the words I will keep you in my prayers can so easily slide off our lips. We see here the social dimension of our faith.
Saint Hilary, pray for us –
In the scriptures religion is not a part of life or an addition to life; it is the whole of life. If our life is divorced from faith and faith from life, then we are on thin ice. Let us determine today to put our faith, our religion into action. Because that is how we will be judged. When I was hungry you gave me something to eat. When I was thirsty you gave me a drink. When I was naked you clothed me. When I was sick you visited me.
We all need quiet space each day, a time of prayer and reflection which keeps life in perspective. It might mean a few moments to read the Scriptures, to pray a decade of the rosary, to read a few pages from a book on the spiritual life or just being quiet in the peace of God. We live in a fast-paced world but let us never forget that as followers of Jesus we have the same source of power which is our life of prayer. Remember every moment reveals God to us.
The people were amazed at his teaching because he taught them as one who had authority, not as their teachers of the law. We too are called to speak and act with authority. We need to reach within our deepest resources to find the credible faith that will call others to the Lord. And so, our life is an articulation of this faith and in our ability to be always Christian. Do we really believe? And based on that belief can we speak with authority?
Notice how Jesus speaks about the Kingdom of God. He always speaks of it in the present tense. It is not something that we will be part of sometime in the future, but something that we are very much a part of here and now. Every expression of compassion and understanding is the Kingdom of God in our midst. Every offering and acceptance of forgiveness is the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God, Jesus says, is in our hands.
The Baptism of the Lord –
We hear the message spoken of Jesus: This is my beloved son. We believe that about him, but we forget that we are also children of God. We are dust and deity. We are mortal and immortal. Many times, the dust and mortality take precedence over the deity and immortality. Let us try to make it easier for one another to find something divine in one another.
John states the whole dynamic of the Christian life: He must increase, while I must decrease. This principle has tremendous implications that we can reflect on for the rest of our lives. The decrease of self-concern, the emptying of self-centeredness, and the increase of Christ as the center of one’s life is the secret of Christian existence. The more we create an emptiness within ourselves and allow Christ to fill it, the richer and fuller our lives will become.
Saint Raymond of Penyafort, pray for us –
May Jesus transform our vision of God and the way we see one another as well. Let us ask God to instill in us a spirit of gratitude that enable us to see God’s love in every moment of our lives, especially the challenging moments. May the good we do for others be our thanks to God for the good God does for us.
Saint Andre Bessette, pray for us –
As followers of Jesus, we have received the power of the Spirit. We have been anointed to carry the message of evangelizing, healing, and freeing, bearing a message of hope to the world. We are the body of Jesus visible today. Do we have enough faith in ourselves to believe that all this is once again fulfilled in us each day? Do we believe in this fulfillment, which we have all received?