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Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Reflections 2021-02-04 Thursday Week 4 in Ordinary Time

Hebrews 12:18-19, 21-24; Psalm 48; Mark 6:7-13
The First Reading tells us when we come before God, we do not come in fear. We do not come to blazing fire, and darkness and gloom, and a tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that not another word be spoken to them. It continues to say we have come to the city of the triumphant, of the living God, to innumerable angels in festal gathering, to the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Some commentators say this is an image of heaven which we mystically enter every time we celebrate mass. This is what we look forward to and this is the kingdom Jesus was building in the Gospel.
In the Gospel, Jesus sent out the Twelve and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. As they went, they proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. The kingdom of Jesus is one where demons are defeated, sickness are cured, where we gather around in peace with the angels and the saints before God and Jesus.
The kingdom of God is always triumphant over evil, even if we see evil all around us. The Psalm tells us: Your right hand is filled with victory.
So if the kingdom is always victorious, why is there still suffering? Why is there evil? We live in the already and not yet. Christ has won the victory, but sadly, we still need to fight for out salvation. Yes, God can do this by the snap of his finger, but where will free will be? For love to be real, it must be free.
If we are overwhelmed by the evil we see and suffering we experience, we turn to Jesus, knowing he has won the victory. There is no need to fear him because the First Reading tells us, Jesus is the mediator of a new covenant. He intercedes for us with the Father so we can also have power to fight the evil in us and among us.
Perhaps, you may be afraid to come to God because you think he will punish you, or you think you are condemned to a life of darkness, without hope. But the First Reading tells us, this is not where we come to. God is not someone who wants to destroy us. God wants us everyone to be saved, including you. So do not be afraid, God is on your side. He wants to bring you to live with him forever. Come to Jesus. As the Apostles preached: Repent and believe in the Gospel. Turn to Jesus and he will lead you to victory.
Lord, I am lost and I would like to come before you, but I am afraid. I give you permission to come to me. Help me overcome the fears I have of approaching you and reveal yourself to me, so I can know you and love you.

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