In today’s gospel, Jesus tells His listeners, “The Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath.” God does not need our worship. God does not become greater because we say so. Rather, we begin on our own path to greatness when we recognize the goodness of God.
Almost anything we see or experience can be a prayer, a path or tool for tuning into God. A whole spectrum of things can raise us to conscious union with God: passages from Scared Scripture, repetition of words, silence, even suffering. Prayer helps us grow in our relationship with God and helps us realize that we are stewards of God’s creation and the recipient of many blessings.
Ancient tax collectors paid for the right to collect taxes. They got their profit by collecting more than they paid for the right to collect the taxes. Some became extortionists. That is why tax collectors are despised in the Bible. Do we tend to discriminate against individuals just because they belong to a group we dislike?
In today’s Gospel, a paralytic is saved by the faith of his 4 friends who attract Jesus’ attention. Can you recall a time when another person’s faith played a big role in your life?
Peter’s mother-in-law was healed by Jesus. The Gospel says, “The fever left her and she began to wait on them.” When was the last time you experienced God’s healing power in your life?
A London mob grew restless and was about to explode. An elderly Chief of Police showed up and slowly walked through the crowd. The mob fell silent and stepped aside. It was like letting the air out of a balloon. The Chief was later asked if he was afraid. “No,” he replied, “because they knew I represented the king.” Jesus had the same impact on evil spirits. They knew He represented His heavenly Father. Have you ever felt the powerful impact of Jesus’ presence in your life?
Baptism is initiation into Christ. We “put on” Christ. This is both a call and a way of life, not a membership. The late Fr. Raymond Brown, whose baptismal commitment was evident to all who knew him, often stressed the significance of Christian baptism by insisting that “the day a person is baptized is more important than the day when a person is ordained a priest and bishop.” Amen to that.