The parable of the sower teaches us that the Lord works in a slow and steady way to change our lives. While there are many temptations and distractions that can choke off our faith, we are reminded to foster the Gospel in our hearts and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.
In great and small ways, we all exercise power and authority. Some people make daily decisions that shape the lives of nations; others rule kingdoms no bigger than the back garden. Yet regardless of size and shape, the fact remains that power and authority are part of human life.
Having these two dynamic attributes, however, are no guarantee that they will be used wisely and well. History is filled with both good and bad examples where power and authority have been used – for great good and great harm.
Like all gifts, power and authority find their origin in the Lord. God is the source of all life, and every blessing, every ability, derives its strength from the throne of Heaven. Both the first reading and the Gospel today acknowledge this truth: Moses proclaims that God will raise up a future prophet for the people; Jesus teaches with authority and casts out demons. As Christ fulfills the promise of Moses, the Lord extends his power to conquer sin and death that we might have hope in this world as we look to the world to come.
In light of these readings two thoughts emerge for consideration:
Do I acknowledge God’s power and authority in my life?
Do I use the power and authority I have for God’s glory?
Think about it. We often know what we should do…the question is, do we do it?! The Lord’s commands (forgiveness, prayer, service to the poor, justice, etc.) are not nice things to think about in our spare time. They are dictates from on high that are meant to enliven us and fill us with grace, peace, and joy. The problem of course is that our own ego can get in the way and redirect our energy away from God. In these moments, we search our conscience (Remember the Examination of Conscience last week?) and return to the Lord.
And while we are examining our hearts, we have the opportunity to put into practice the power and authority we have in a 1001 ways. Consider:
The Environment, The Legal System, Local Government
Any place where our lives touch another…
Since all power comes from God and flows through us, it might be helpful to recall that one day we are going to stand before Jesus Christ. With loving eyes he will look into our souls and ask what we did with the gift of life we were given. It’s not the mistakes we made that will be hardest to bear, but the opportunities we missed to good with what we had. Perhaps today we might reflect on the Lord’s commands for our lives, and reconsider how we might put them into practice with the power we possess.
Those little words, “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you” have the power to bring healing and grace as we recognize our weaknesses and ask for mercy. May the example of Jonah and Jesus inspire us to speak them frequently from the heart!
The relatives of Jesus in the Gospel today show us that sometimes our family dynamics can cause stress and struggle. Yet our families can also be the place where we are supported and nurtured to grow. May we give our best effort to our family as we encourage and build up one another.
Jesus calls the Twelve disciples by name and empowers them for ministry. The Lord does the same for us! May we say yes and allow God’s grace to work through our imperfections so that we may serve others with the love of Christ.
The Gospel of Mark reveals the power of the healing ministry of Jesus. From the beginning the Church has continued this work; may our lives today be open to this ministry as we seek to be instruments of the Lord’s healing touch.