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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Reflection 2021-01-21 Thursday Week 2 in Ordinary Time – St Agnes

Hebrews 7:25-8:6; Psalm 40; Mark 3:7-12
The Gospel today ends with this: Whenever the unclean spirits saw Jesus, they fell down before him and shouted, “You are the Son of God!” But he sternly ordered them not to make him known. This shows the demons know who Jesus is and they even fall down before him. They also obey Jesus because they keep quiet after Jesus tells them not to make him known. Jesus is not like any person who has lived on earth. The people know this because Mark tells us the crowd was so huge, they were crushing Jesus because he cured many so that all who had diseased pressed upon him to touch him.
This is what the Author of Hebrews says Jesus, because he continues forever, is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. Jesus cares for us and even if he does not walk this earth, he continues to save those who approach God through him. There is no need to be afraid to come to Jesus and ask for salvation. While we may not be cured physically, Jesus wants to heal us spiritually, psychologically, emotionally. But the condition is we need to approach God through him.
What does this approaching God look like? It is to come to God in reverence and respect, accepting him as he is and letting him do what he wills, because we know and trust, God has only the best for us. He will not abandon those who approach him. The Responsorial Psalm refers to Jesus who says: Here am I Lord, I come to do your will. Yet, this also can be our prayer, that we come to the Lord, not to demand anything, but to tell him, we come to do his will. This is the kind of prayer God will never reject.
This is what St Agnes did. She lived in 291-304 AD, making her fourteen years old at her death. She was born of a wealthy Roman family who were Christians. Many men tried to marry her but she rebuked them because of her devotion to religious purity. One of the men submitted her name to the authorities telling them she was a Christian. The Prefect ordered her to be dragged naked to the brothel, but her hair grew to cover her body. Those who attempted to rape her were struck blind. She was released when the son of the Prefect rose from the dead after she prayed for him. Another Prefect sentenced her to death but the wood which she was bound would not burn or the flames would not touch her. The officer then either beheaded her or stabbed her throat. In any case, Agnes died because she did the will of the Lord.
While some of us may not be called to the honor of dying for God, we are called to die for God. Is it scary? Yes. Can we do it? We hope so. But dying to ourselves, our ideas of God, our expectations of God is needed so we can do God’s will. When we try everything we can and nothing works, perhaps it is time to step back and look at what we are doing and ask God how he wants things done.
Lord, I have tried everything and nothing seems to work. I come to you, surrendering my situation. Here I am Lord, I come to do your will. St Agnes, pray that I may have courage to do God's will.

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