Power and Might

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Memorial of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr

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.
Opening Prayer: Lord, open my mind and heart as I ponder your words today. Ash Wednesday is right around the corner, one week away, and I want to use this Lenten opportunity to draw closer to you. Give me the grace to pray well in these moments.
Encountering Christ:

  1. Famous: Jesus was beginning to be recognized as an important rabbi and miracle worker throughout the region. People “scurried” to bring their sick to him for healing, sure that Jesus had the power they sought. Why? His reputation had preceded him. Many probably knew eyewitnesses who had been cured or seen miracles done by Jesus. And they were disposed by their faith to anticipate the coming of a powerful Messiah. In our day, Jesus resides in every church and every tabernacle in our vicinity. He may even be just steps away, ready to greet us from the monstrance in a local Adoration chapel. With more than two-thousand years of hindsight, we know better than the people of Gennesaret who is in our midst. How often do we “scurry” to bring him our concerns? St. Therese of Lisieux gently reminds us, “Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you—for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart.”
  2. Widespread Healings: The people flocked to Jesus from the countryside, the villages, and “wherever they heard he was.” How desperate they must have been to have carried their sick from village to village, hoping to track down the renowned healer. Many were no doubt impeded by the terrain, confusing messages, and the crowds that surrounded Jesus. Still, they persevered. When they saw Jesus, they did not ask him for flashy signs. They humbly begged that only a tassel might touch their loved ones. Their faith allowed Jesus to work widespread healings!
  3. Only a Tassel: In this Gospel, Jesus cured anyone who merely touched the tassel of his cloak. Imagine the power that emanated from Jesus and the reactions of those who were at once healed! When we reflect on the almighty power of God or experience it in our own lives, our soul naturally responds with thanksgiving and praise. As we pray in every Mass, “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right and just.” According to the Catechism, “Praise is the form of prayer which recognizes most immediately that God is God. It lauds God for his own sake and gives him glory, quite beyond what he does, but simply because HE IS” (CCC 2639). Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Conversing with Christ: Lord, I know that faith can move mountains, and in this case, the people’s faith resulted in many physical and spiritual cures. Please increase my faith. I believe. Help my unbelief (Mark 9:24).
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will dedicate some extra time to bring you my concerns, if possible by making a visit to you in the tabernacle.
For Further Reflection: “For when I pronounce this name, I bring before my mind the man, who, by excellence, is meek and humble of heart, benign, sober, chaste, merciful, and filled with everything that is good and holy, nay, who is the very God almighty—whose example heals me, and whose assistance strengthens me. I say all this, when I say Jesus” (St. Bernard of Clairvaux).
Written by Maribeth Harper.

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