Alleluia: True Ministry

Wednesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
August 31, 2022

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, both Paul and Luke talk about ministry – our loving and merciful service to one another through prayer, word, and action.

LK4_18 good news

Paul says this ministry must be humble and mutual. This is because all the good that any of us does comes from God, not from us.

What is Apollos, after all, and what is Paul?
Ministers through whom you became believers,
just as the Lord assigned each one.
I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth.
Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything,
but only God, who causes the growth.


Jesus shows us that our ministry must be immediate and practical, responding to the present needs of our sisters and brothers. You wouldn’t think Jesus had time to pay attention to Peter’s mother-in-law, but he did. Her need drew his ministry out of him.

After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon.
Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever,
and they interceded with him about her.
He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her.
She got up immediately and waited on them.

At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases
brought them to him.
He laid his hands on each of them and cured them.


You will meet your own “Peter’s mother-in-law” today – someone whose apparent need touches your goodness. They may need a smile, an encouragement, an invitation or a gentle correction from you. They may come to you from a distance, in a request for service or funding. They may come in news story crying out for your prayers or civic action.

People can be poor in many ways.  Even the apparently free can be held captive by hidden burdens. Sometimes these burdens hide under a false bravado, impudence, indifference, or pride that make it difficult to pity their bearers. 

We will meet these people in our families, workplaces, schools and neighborhoods. 

Our response should reflect the humble and spontaneous Mercy and Love of Jesus who was always honest, respectful and kind. This is the ministry of every Christian because…

Music: Christ Has No Body Now But Yours ~ David Ogden

Poetry: The Woman – I wrote this poem about 30 years ago but I thought of it this morning when I reflected on Peter’s mother-in-law and her need for Jesus’s touch.

One bitter day in February
I sat inside a sunlit room,
offered you warm prayer and promises,
and she passed outside my window
dressed uncarefully against the wind,
steadied on a cane, though she was young.
She seemed searching for
a comfort, unavailable and undefined.

The wound of that impossibility
fell over her the way it falls
on every tender thing that cries
but is not gathered to a caring breast.
Suddenly she was a single
anguished seed of You,
fallen into all created things.

Re-entering prayer,
I wear the thought of her  
like old earth wears fresh rain.
I’ve misconstrued You,
Holy One, to whom I offer my heart
as if I were a yearning field,
Holy One, already ripe within
her barest, leanest yearning.

Alleluia: An Ageless Love

Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
August 3, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/080322.cfm

Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited the people.

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings carry the themes of Hope and Restoration.

Jeremiah tells the people that, even after all they’ve been through, God has an age-old love for them and therefore will not abandon them.

Jeremiah continues with a description of the future coming of the Savior, promising that Israel will be restored:

Yes, a day will come when the watchmen
will call out on Mount Ephraim:
“Rise up, let us go to Zion,
to the LORD, our God.”
For thus says the LORD:
Shout with joy for Jacob,
exult at the head of the nations;
proclaim your praise and say:
The LORD has delivered the people,
the remnant of Israel.

Our Alleluia Verse announces that this expected Savior has arrived in Jesus Christ, the Divine Shepherd, Lord, Guardian and Redeemer whom Jeremiah describes in our Responsorial Psalm.

Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited the people.


Matthew’s Gospel today, which can seem a little contentious in tone, actually demonstrates the surprising truth that Jesus came not only for the sake of Israel, but for all people — for us.

We are all beneficiaries of God’s age-old love for us.

Poetry: You are the future, the great sunrise red – Rainer Maria Rilke

You are the future, the great sunrise red
above the broad plains of eternity.
You are the cock-crow when time’s night has fled,
You are the dew, the matins, and the maid,
the stranger and the mother, you are death.

You are the changeful shape that out of Fate
rears up in everlasting solitude,
the unlamented and the unacclaimed,
beyond describing as some savage wood.

You are the deep epitome of things
that keeps its being’s secret with locked lip,
and shows itself to others otherwise:
to the ship, a haven — to the land, a ship.


Music: I Have Loved You – Michael Joncas 

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine;

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine.

Seek the face of the Lord and long for him: He will bring you his light and his peace.

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine;

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine.

Seek the face of the Lord and long for him: He will bring you his joy and his hope.

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine;

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine.

Seek the face of the Lord and long for him: He will bring you his care and his love.

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine;

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine.

Alleluia: Refreshed

Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin
July 14, 2022

Today’s Readings 

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/071422.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our Alleluia Verse offers us a loving, comforting invitation:

Alleluia, alleluia.
Come to me,
all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.


Each of today’s readings offers beautiful lines that can be caressed in prayer to deepen our relationship with our Merciful God.

Isaiah’s heartfelt longing for God keeps him alert day and night to God’s Presence:

My soul yearns for you in the night,
yes, my spirit within me keeps vigil for you…

Isaiah 26:9

And even though times are tough for Isaiah’s community, he expresses a hope born of faith – like morning dew filled with first daylight:

Salvation we have not achieved for the earth,
the inhabitants of the world cannot bring it forth.
But your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise;
awake and sing, you who lie in the dust.
For your dew is a dew of light,
and the land of shades gives birth.

Isaiah 26: 18-19

Our Responsorial Psalm picks up the theme and gives it as a promise to future generations:

Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let God’s future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven and beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.

Psalm 102: 19-21

And in our beautiful Gospel, Jesus embodies the promise in his merciful invitation:

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.

Matthew 11: 28-30

Poetry: Dew Drop – Rabindranath Tagore

Through many years,
At great expense,
Journeying through many countries,
I went to see high mountains,
I went to the oceans.

Only I had not seen at my very doorstep,
The dew drop glistening
On the ear of the corn.


Music: Zuni Sunrise – Wil Numkena

The Zuni People are Native Americans of New Mexico, USA

A morning prayer to greet the sunrise. Let the sound pray in you without words.

Alleluia: Arise

Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
July 4, 2022

Today’s Readings 

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/070422.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, the power of eternal life flows in an Almighty Current through our readings.

Hosea imagines an amorous God who allures the beloved to full and faithful relationship.


Beautiful Psalm 145 might be read as the grateful response of that redeemed beloved … of us as we are continually gathered back into God’s heart.

The Alleluia Verse assures us that the ultimate “gathering back” has occurred through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are forever allured, redeemed, arisen in Christ!

Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.


Today’s Gospel, tells the miraculous stories of two women – one young, one old – touched to new life by Jesus. Each of us could linger in these stories at the thousand places where our own lives might mirror the needs of that breathless little girl or that exhausted woman. We pause with one or the other of them today, have a little talk in our prayer, see how the power of Jesus covered them.

In our scriptures today, all kinds of death are destroyed through the infinite gift of God’s love and mercy. What deathly threats might we bring to God’s touch as we pray today?


Poetry: WOMAN UN-BENT (LUKE 13:10–17) – Irene Zimmerman, OSF

That Sabbath day as always
she went to the synagogue
and took the place assigned her
right behind the grill where,
the elders had concurred,
she would block no one’s view,
she could lean her heavy head,
and (though this was not said)
she’d give a good example to
the ones who stood behind her. 

That day, intent as always
on the Word (for eighteen years
she’d listened thus), she heard
Authority when Jesus spoke. 

Though long stripped
of forwardness,
she came forward, nonetheless,
when Jesus summoned her.
“Woman, you are free
of your infirmity,” he said. 

The leader of the synagogue
worked himself into a sweat
as he tried to bend the Sabbath
and the woman back in place. 

But she stood up straight and let
God’s glory touch her face.

Music: He Touched Me – Gaithersburg Brothers 

This extremely popular American Gospel song was written by Bill Gaithers in 1963. It has been recorded and released over 10 times by artists such as Jimmy Durante, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Lawrence Welk and Elvis Presley.

Awash in Mercy

Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
June 14, 2022

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with a very diverse set of readings.

The current passages from 1 Kings probably aren’t doing a lot to enhance your spiritual life right now. Life in Elijah’s times was pretty harsh, and applying its harsh descriptions to our own life may take a real stretch.


But our verse for the day and the Gospel to which it leads, offer an easier path to prayer.

This verse opens our Responsorial Psalm, the ardent “Miserere” which begs God for mercy. (I chose it because we prayed with the Alleluia Verse just the other day.)

It may be rare for us to feel such an impassioned need for mercy. Hopefully our lives are not as fraught with angst as were Ahab’s and Jezebel’s. But, let’s face it, neither our lives, nor the way we live them, is perfect.


Those of you who know me won’t need this disclaimer because you know better. But for other readers who don’t know me personally, let me tell you this. Despite my mother’s belief and constant proclamation, I am not perfect either. 

I have hard edges, ingrained meannesses, and unacknowledged shadows that thirst for God’s Mercy and Light. 

I think it’s safe to say that we all do. No canonized saints are reading this blog!


Today’s verse and entire psalm help us to open our hearts to any harbored sinfulness and to receive the transforming grace of insight, forgiveness, and intention to change.

May we pray our plea for mercy
with sincerity and hope.
May God’s response lead us closer
to the perfect compassion
described in today’s Gospel.

Poetry: To Live in the Mercy of God – Denise Levertov

To lie back under the tallest
oldest trees. How far the stems
rise, rise
               before ribs of shelter
                                           open!

To live in the mercy of God. The complete
sentence too adequate, has no give.

Awe, not comfort. Stone, elbows of
stony wood beneath lenient
moss bed.

And awe suddenly
passing beyond itself. Becomes
a form of comfort.
                      Becomes the steady
air you glide on, arms
stretched like the wings of flying foxes.

To hear the multiple silence
of trees, the rainy
forest depths of their listening.

To float, upheld,
                as salt water
                would hold you,
                                        once you dared.

                  To live in the mercy of God.

To feel vibrate the enraptured
waterfall flinging itself
unabating down and down
                              to clenched fists of rock.
Swiftness of plunge,
hour after year after century,

                                                   O or Ah
uninterrupted, voice
many-stranded.
                              To breathe
spray. The smoke of it.

                              Arcs
of steelwhite foam, glissades
of fugitive jade barely perceptible. Such passion—
rage or joy?

                              Thus, not mild, not temperate,
God’s love for the world. Vast
flood of mercy
                      flung on resistance.


Music: Miserere – Gregorio Allegri 

Lent: Releasing Praise

March 26, 2022
Saturday of the Third Week of Lent

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we are encouraged to pray. Hosea tells us:

Come, let us return to the LORD,
it is he who has rent, but he will heal us;
… the LORD will come to us like the rain,
like spring rain that waters the earth.


Let the image of that truth sink into your parched spirit.

rain

Our Gospel leads us to pray humbly:

But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’

As we pray humbly today, let us ask for God’s refreshment for all our sisters and brothers across the earth. In good times and in trials, let us always praise God.


I would like to share one of my own poems with you today, as we kneel before God with all struggling Creation begging God for humanity to be washed in Mercy.

        All Creation    

 All Creation kneels,
a Single Being,
to praise God.

 From its immense heart,
it sings myriad songs at once,
Morning and Evensong,
Praise and Dirge,
Alas and Alleluia,
intermingled

 It sings even over its own scars,
where the chasms cry out for balm.
It sings both the remembrance
and the hope of blessing.
It sings the endurance of faith
and the confidence of love.

 In roar and silence,
darkness and light,
Creation kneels,
a Single Being,
to praise God.


Music: Total Praise sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.  Just watching these faith-filled people lifts my heart and gives me hope.  I trust it will do the same for you, dear friends as we pray for one another.

Seeing Clearly

February 16, 2022
Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings are around the theme of our spiritual senses.

James tells us to listen, look, see, and act on the Word planted within our hearts. Once again, he gives us great images to help our understanding.

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer,
he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror.
He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets
what he looked like.

James 1:3-24

If anyone thinks he is religious
and does not bridle his tongue
but deceives his heart, his religion is vain.

James 1: 26

In our Gospel, once again our dear, earthy Jesus heals someone in a deeply human way. Jesus takes the blind man aside, holding his hand to lead him. As he did in a passage recently, Jesus spits on his fingers and massages the blind man’s eyes.

The man tries to work with Jesus, exclaiming that he sees “people like trees walking”.

I’ve always loved that line because it makes me feel like I’m right there, in that little dusty village of Bethsaida, listening like the rest of the stunned crowd to the man’s amazement!


As we pray this morning, we might wonder what Jesus said back to that overwhelmed man as they sat together, helping him to learn how to see. What might Jesus say to us as he lifts one of our many blindnesses from our hearts?


Prose: from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

(This passage is from one of my all-time favorite books written by Annie Dillard whom I think of as the “Mary Oliver” of prose. Here’s the way wikipedia describes the book:)

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is a 1974 nonfiction narrative book by American author Annie Dillard. Told from a first-person point of view, the book details an unnamed narrator's explorations near her home, and various contemplations on nature and life. The title refers to Tinker Creek, which is outside Roanoke in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Dillard began writing Pilgrim in the spring of 1973, using her personal journals as inspiration. Separated into four sections that signify each of the seasons, the narrative takes place over the period of one year.
The book records the narrator's thoughts on solitude, writing, and religion, as well as scientific observations on the flora and fauna she encounters. Touching upon themes of faith, nature, and awareness, Pilgrim is also noted for its study of theodicy and the inherent cruelty of the natural world. The author has described it as a "book of theology", and she rejects the label of nature writer.

I think this is a great book to pick up at the beginning of any season of nature or life. The excerpt I chose for today, in honor of the Gospel, is from a chapter entitled ” Seeing”:

A fog that won’t burn away drifts and flows across my field of vision. When you see fog move against a backdrop of deep pines, you don’t see the fog itself, but streaks of clearness floating across the air in dark shreds. So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity. I can’t distinguish the fog from the overcast sky; I can’t be sure if the light is direct or reflected. Everywhere darkness and the presence of the unseen appalls. We estimate now that only one atom dances alone in every cubic meter of intergalactic space. I blink and squint. What planet or power yanks Halley’s Comet out of orbit? We haven’t seen that force yet; it’s a question of distance, density, and the pallor of reflected light. We rock, cradled in the swaddling band of darkness. Even the simple darkness of night whispers suggestions to the mind.

The secret of seeing is, then, the pearl of great price. If I thought he could teach me to find it and keep it forever I would stagger barefoot across and hundred deserts after any lunatic at all. But although the pearl may be found, it may not be sought. The literature of illumination reveals this above all: although it comes to those who wait for it, it is always, even to the most practiced and adept, a gift and a total surprise. I return from one walk knowing where the killdeer nests in the field by the creek and the hour the laurel blooms. I return from the same walk a day later scarcely knowing my own name. Litanies hum in my ears; my tongue flaps in my mouth Ailinon, alleluia! I cannot cause light; the most I can do is try to put myself in the path of its beam. It is possible, in deep space, to sail on solar wind. Light, be it particle or wave, has force: you rig a giant sail and go. The secret of seeing is to sail on solar wind. Hone and spread your spirit till you yourself are a sail, whetted, translucent, broadside to the merest puff.

Music: I Can See Clearly Now – Jimmy Cliff

Down, Dirty, and Divine!

February 11, 2022
Friday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Today, in Mercy, our Gospel gives us one my favorite portrayals of Jesus. It’s what I think of as “down in the dirt with us” Jesus. Let me give you some background on the image.

Me and Petey 😉 1955, looking a lot cleaner and official than we really were!

When I was a kid in North Philly, my buddy’s dog was hit by a car. We were playing baseball in a cinder lot (that’s where the railroad dumped its ashes in the old days when trains ran on coal). We were about a half block away when we heard the screeching. We turned and watched the guilty car speed off without a moment’s hesitation.

Petey ran screaming toward his dog, the rest of us cinder-dusty kids streaming behind him. I can still see Petey lie down beside that whimpering mutt who had been tossed into a muddy gully along Philip Street. He cradled the bruised head and whispered to the frightened eyes. Then Petey quietly said, “Get my Dad”, as he stroked Lightening’s heaving back.


As I remember that moment today, Petey reflects the image of the Divine Healer who – muddied and bloodied — has taken a place beside all of us as we suffer. He is unafraid of our mud and cinders. He is touched by our mumblings and tears.

In today’s Gospel, there is stunning humanness. The suffering man doesn’t just ask for a miracle. He asks for a hand to be laid on him, for a touch, for a connection he can feel. And Jesus hears his deep human need.

People brought to Jesus a deaf man who had a speech impediment
who begged him to lay his hand on him.

Mark 7:32
Be Opened – Thomas Davidson (1872)

Some miracles are accomplished by a fleshless, electric word shot through the air. But not this one.

With this lonely, isolated man, feel Jesus caress your head, perhaps finger the ears that have heard so much criticism and frustration. Feel Jesus touch your tongue, twisted sometimes in its attempts to speak your meaning into the world. Receive the surprising gift of Divine spittle that intends to insure, “I am part of you now. You will never be alone again.”

Hear Christ’s groan as he prays for you in sounds that plead, “Get my Dad. ABBA, Father.”

He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
“Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”)

Mark 7:32-34

Hear the definite pronouncement of your liberation
from anything that tongue-ties, heart-ties,
soul-ties your life:
“Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”)

Poetry: I believe in all that has never been spoken – Rainer Maria Rilke
~ from Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for
may for once spring clearwithout my contriving.
If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.
Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,
streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

Music: Ephphatha – Fill Me – Carrie Allwine

No Regrets

February 1, 2022
Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

You have followed the story in these daily passages. Absalom rebels, designing to usurp his father’s throne. A massive battle rises between them. David, as commander-in-chief, remains behind, but gives instructions to his generals to spare Absalom’s life. Joab ignores the command, killing Absalom in a moment of vulnerability.

David is devastated.

David and Absalom – Marc Chagall
(Fair Use)

I think there is no more wrenching human emotion than regret. When I ministered for nearly a decade as hospice chaplain, and later in the emergency room, I saw so much regret.

People who had waited too long to say “I’m sorry”, “I forgive you”, “Let’s start over”, “Thank you for all you did for me”, “I love you”…..

Instead, these people stood at lifeless bedsides saying things like, “I should have”, “I wish…”, “If only…”


Life is complex and sometimes difficult. We get hurt, and we hurt others — sometimes so hurt that we walk away from relationship, or stay but wall ourselves off.

We might think that what is missing in such times is love. But I think it is more likely truth. In times of painful conflict, if we can hear and speak our truth to ourselves and one another, we open the path to healing.


If you want the truth, I’ll tell you the truth.
Listen to the secret sound,
the real sound, which is inside you.

Kabir

That healing may demand adjustments, agreements, even a willingness to step apart in mutual respect. But if the changes emerge from shared truth, restoration and wholeness are possible.


David and Absalom never found that path because they were so absorbed in their own self-interests. Theirs was the perfect formula for regret – that fruitless stump that perpetually sticks in the heart.


Poetry: How Clear, How Lovely Bright – A.E. Houseman

How clear, how lovely bright,
How beautiful to sight
    Those beams of morning play;
How heaven laughs out with glee
Where, like a bird set free,
Up from the eastern sea   
Soars the delightful day.
To-day I shall be strong,
No more shall yield to wrong,
    Shall squander life no more;
Days lost, I know not how,
I shall retrieve them now;
Now I shall keep the vow
    I never kept before.
Ensanguining the skies
How heavily it dies
    Into the west away;
Past touch and sight and sound
Not further to be found,
How hopeless under ground
    Falls the remorseful day

I remember a trauma surgeon leaving the hospital late one night after an unsuccessful effort to save a young boy who had been shot.

The doctor carried the loss so heavily as he walked into the night barely whispering to me, “I’m just going to go home and hug my kids.”

As we pray over David and Absalom today, let us examine our lives for the fractures that are still healable and act on them. Let us “hug” the life we have within and all around us. Regret is a lethal substitute.



When David Heard – Eric Whitaker ( The piece builds. Be patient. Lyrics below)

When David heard that Absalom was slain,
he went up into his chamber over the gate and wept,
and thus he said;

My son, my son,
O Absalom my son,
would God I had died for thee!

When David heard that Absalom was slain,
he went up into his chamber over the gate and wept,
and thus he said;

My son, my son.

Spirit Set Free

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we have two highly dramatic passages in which a lot of people are annoying one another! If there were an Oscar category for “Best Biblical Drama”, these stories would definitely be nominees!

In our ongoing “David Saga”, the troubled king flees Jerusalem because his own son Absalom is plotting to overthrow him. David, at this point in time, is humbled and not a little wearied by the theatrics of his life. His sins continue to haunt him and wreak a recompense. 

Shimei curses David by Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld

In today’s passage, we meet Shimei who has his own little miniseries going on in the Bible. Shimei is part of Saul’s family and holds David responsible for Saul’s demise. When meeting David in this passage, Shimei dangerously, and we might say stupidly, sets on him, throwing dirt and stones at the King. David prevents the troops from responding to the wildly outraged man. David even suggests that God may be trying to teach David something in the attack.

The Demoniac at Gadara

In our Gospel, we meet another wildly outraged man. This one is tormented by his inner demons, causing him also to put himself in dangerous situations. Jesus names this man’s tormentor and casts it out, giving the man control of himself again.


Have you ever been so offended, humiliated or injured that you felt outrage for yourself or another? Such fury chains us, making rationality and reconciliation close to impossible. Sometimes, it renders us impotent to name and address the deep source of our indignation.

Instead, we lash out with stones of anger or passive aggression – throwing the dirt of condemnation rather than seeking inner balance and healing.


Most of us have encountered large or small “dementors” in our life.
(Thanks for the term AND the image, Harry Potter)

But when I think of those who have endured unbelievable degrees of torment, I am amazed at their stories of faith and resolution: Anne Frank, Victor Frankel, Nelson Mandela, Harriet Tubman …. Jesus Christ. How did they come through it whole and blessed?

Maybe the possessed man in Mark’s Gospel was just lucky that day to run into Jesus. Or maybe he sought out Christ, trying to find stability in the midst of his derangement.

When we face our own imbalances can we stay still long enough to ask, as David did, “What is God teaching me in this. How can this lead me closer to God?” If we could, might we not be surprised to see our demons named, cast into the greater sea of God’s eternal wisdom, peace and love?


Poetry: Matthew VIII, 28 Fr. – Richard Wilbur
This poem, spoken by the residents of Gadara or Gerasa, imagines that they are more interested in their commerce than in miracles. They’re pretty disturbed about their pigs too

Rabbi, we Gadarenes
Are not ascetics; we are fond of wealth and possessions.
Love, as You call it, we obviate by means
Of the planned release of aggressions.
We have deep faith in properity.
Soon, it is hoped, we will reach our full potential.
In the light of our gross product, the practice of charity
Is palpably non-essential.
It is true that we go insane;
That for no good reason we are
possessed by devils;
That we suffer, despite the amenities
which obtain
At all but the lowest levels.
We shall not, however, resign
Our trust in the high-heaped table and the full trough.
If You cannot cure us without destroying our swine,
We had rather You shoved off.


Music: Set My Spirit Free – Maranatha Singers