by Associate Bert Lebrick
When have I been frightened, blind or deaf?
This is the question I ask myself in light of Sunday's readings. The passage from Isaiah says, "Thus says the Lord: Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! … Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared." In Mark's Gospel, Jesus fulfills Isaiah's promise when He concedes to the people's request to heal a man who is deaf and has a speech impediment.
In a world where the message is one of independence ("You can take care of yourself, just rely on your own strength and courage, make your own choices") it's easy to forget God's request to have faith. When I pray to God about having a frightened heart I am often astonished at the peace and joy that comes over me. I can relate to the people of Decapolis in the first reading who can't control themselves: They tell everyone of the miracle healing of the deaf man despite Jesus' instructions not to. I, too, want to share what how God has moved in my own life. My faith empowers me to do both the comfortable (visiting the elderly) and not-so-comfortable (talking about my faith).
I have also felt the challenge of sharing faith, Bert. I appreciate your reminder to pray for God's Spirit of courage when I feel shy, timid, or fearful. Thank you for your reflection, Bert.
Easy to say and hard to do, I agree, Bert. I spent some time with Fr. Pete this week. His physical vision and body are failing him. He is incredibly honest about the challenges of learning to live with, and accept the limitations and physical pains of old age. But he keeps returning to the positive: all the good about those who care for him, and checking for more information on the Green Bay Packers.