Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI
Reflection for Jan. 31, 2021

Reflection for Jan. 31, 2021

Jesus teaches -- and acts -- with compassion

His oneness with God is an excellent model for us

by Sister Sally Ann Brickner

In today’s Old Testament reading from Deuteronomy, Moses speaks to the descendants of those enslaved in Egypt. His death is immanent, and he reassures the Israelites that God will not abandon them. Rather, a prophet with the authority like that of Moses will arise from among them. He will speak with God’s authority, and they are to listen and give total obedience to his word.

The Messianic overtones are clear, and Mark focuses on them in his Gospel story which takes place after Jesus’ baptism by John. Jesus was with his first four disciples in Capernaum on the Sabbath. Jesus taught in a way that stirred his hearers, Mark says. But one among the listeners, a man with unclean spirits, challenged Jesus’ authority. (Anyone who has ever tried to convey an important message, be it a parent or teacher or writer, can readily identify with Jesus’ experience that day.) Jesus didn’t enter into a debate with his challenger. Instead, he gave a resounding command to the voices that emanated from the man: “Be quiet! Come out of him!” The evil spirits shook the man’s entire being and shrieked as they left him. Jesus’ words and actions astonished the people and caused them to spread news about Jesus’ teaching and miracles throughout Galilee.

I’ve been learning about evolutionary consciousness, which has made me ponder our thought patterns and the interrelatedness of everything in the universe. As I reflect on today’s Scriptures, I wonder about the consciousness of Moses and of Jesus. Salvation history describes the deep relationship between God and Moses that caused radiance to emanate from his face. He had to wear a veil when giving God’s commands to the Israelites. The Gospel stories tell of Jesus’ filial consciousness of God, whom he called “Abba,” or Father. Oneness with his “Abba” and compassionate concern for the world caused Jesus to speak with authority his healing words.

Does our consciousness of the world derive from God’s goodness within us as it affects all that happens?

Are we conscious of God’s power within us, calling us to cast out evil spirits (within and without) and bring healing to all God has created?

Grant us, O God,
A vision of your world as your love would have it:
A world where the weak are protected,
and none go hungry or poor.

A world where the riches of creation are honored and shared
so everyone might enjoy them.

A world where different races, cultures and creeds
live in peace and harmony, with equal regard.

A world where peace is built with justice
and justice is guided by love

Give us the inspiration and courage
to go forth with willing hearts, minds, and bodies
to build such a world, through Christ Jesus.

And may the God of hope fill us with every comfort and joy in believing. May the peace of Christ abound in our hearts and minds. And may the Holy Spirit gift and guide us (making Sign of the Cross) now and forever.


Prayer: author unknown, adapted by Russ Petrus, FutureChurch; used with permission.


Bonnie Kugel
01/29/2021 7:49 am

Always praying for Peace! I also feel that if our trust in God is strong we will feel His peace within us.

01/29/2021 9:07 am

Very potent reflection, reflective questions, and prayer, Sally Ann. Thank you for sharing them.

This event that Mark shows us, is among JESUS' first public demonstrations of a deeply compassionate, insightfully wise, and understanding heart. That it takes place in the Temple, among those awaiting and believing in salvation, seems significant. This is just after JESUS' recruitment of his first followers. He wastes no time, no opportunity to mentor and model.

And what does JESUS model for us?

I hear no judgment, no condemnation, and certainly no fear in JESUS, but I do hear JESUS saying to the troubled man, "Take your rightful place among the children of God."

I am reminded of all the people who, today, especially in the mental health field, are trained in the de-escalation of emotionally charged and volatile situations, and of all the new insights and understandings coming forward regarding trauma-informed-listening, trauma-informed-care. These "new understandings" and "new teachings / approaches" involve a change in attitude of the 'helpers' from "What's wrong with you?" to "What happened to you?"

I am reminded, too, of the power and potency of words -- words that hurt; words that heal. We have the power within us to choose, as both poets and prophets show us:

"If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy ... we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one ... aflame and unafraid. ...The new dawn blooms ...

For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it

If only we’re brave enough to be it." [Amanda Gorman, The Hill We Climb, 2021]

01/29/2021 2:38 pm

Beautiful meditation...may our consciousness evolve into greater Love and Peace. Thank you, Sr. Sally Ann.

01/30/2021 3:45 pm

Beautiful prayer. Thank you for your wonderful words, Sister. It helps me understand these readings better.

Father Bill Jacobs
01/31/2021 9:13 am

Thanks so much for sharing your Faith & Wisdom. I particularly, was touched by your Closing Prayer. We need the "contents" of that so very much.... In God's Never-ending Peace & Grace!

Father Bill

Joan Shifferd
01/31/2021 2:41 pm

Very interesting, poignant reflection, thank you. Also, a beautiful prayer! Where can I get info on evolutionary consciousness? Sounds interesting.

Lynda Weingart
02/01/2021 8:24 am

Thank you so much for sharing your reflection, Sr. Sally. I, too, was touched by your closing prayer.

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