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Called to Profess Our Faith
Thursday of the Second Week of Ordinary Time
Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. A large number of people [followed] from Galilee and from Judea. Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him. He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him. And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.” He warned them sternly not to make him known.
Opening Prayer: Jesus, I thank you for your mercies, for calling me to the Catholic faith.
- The Fruits of His Labors and Prudence: Imagine Jesus’s heart as he sees the people flocking to him. Far from vainglory, his heart longs for them to continue seeking him, but with purer hearts. How many come to see what they can take from him? What they can get out of him? A cure? Freedom from internal slavery? He does not cast them away. He prepares to meet the multitudes without being crushed. He wishes to continue the work that the Father sent him for, but perhaps prudence also takes precedence. He seems concerned that fame may cut short the saving message that still needs to sink deeper into the hearts of all who seek him out.
- They Come From All Over: People flock from all directions, Jews and Gentiles alike. The prophecies of Zephaniah (3:9-10) and Zechariah (8:20-23) are coming to fruition. It is a sign of the Messianic Age, when God’s universal saving message would begin to go outward towards all. God is continuing to call and form his people, under the banner of Jesus Christ. With him, in him, and through him, they will form the New Israel, the Church, the universal sacrament of salvation. God continues to call people of all nations. I marvel at the diversity of peoples attracted to the one Christ, praise God!
- Surprising Evangelization: Just as the People of God were formed to be set apart and to testify to the one true God, so too does Jesus continue to call his people to testify. In this passage, testimony comes from unexpected places. Even the evil spirits recognize the truth of who Jesus is. What are we called to testify? That Jesus Christ is Lord. Our praise and confession with our lips and our actions is the way to evangelize. We rejoice with St Paul as he exclaimed to the Philippians (2:9-11):
“…God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Conversing with Christ: My Jesus, I confess that you are Lord of heaven and earth. Jesus, you are the Son of God. Send your Spirit that I may discern the ways in which you call me to profess by faith and bring many others to a deeper encounter with you.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace, I will be attentive to new ways in which I can witness to my faith.
For Further Reflection: How The Church Is the New Israel.
Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi who is dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala.