Posted by: livingscripture | January 9, 2015

Friday after Epiphany

From the Word of the Day

“He would withdraw to deserted places to pray.”

(Luke 5: 12-16)

How should we live this Wordat prayer

Today’s Gospel reading from Luke depicts Jesus and His disciples on a seemingly ‘ordinary’ day near the beginning of their public ministry.  Jesus has just called the disciples from their ordinary work to become ‘fishers of men’.  Luke does not narrate any kind of apostolic master plan.  If anything, the episode is fixed on the man full of leprosy.  He is the one that demands Jesus’ attention by falling prostrate and pleading for deliverance from his malady and its social ostracism.  Whatever the weakness of his flesh, his faith is strong, even desperate.  Jesus touches him and heals him, ordering him to fulfill the Mosaic Law but not to spread the word about the healing.  Yet, the word does spread.  The sick crowds seek out Jesus. They are desperate and hungry, with few options.  They remind us that the victor over the world who believes that Jesus is the Son of God often comes in the form of the mourning widow, the desperate leper, or the paralytic and his friends.

There is a remarkable Catholic leader in Africa, Maggy Barankitse, who had an ordinary life working in a diocesan center in Burundi.  Her life experienced a terrible interruption in 1993.  In the midst of Burundi’s brutal civil war, a government militia entered the center and slaughtered 72 people.  Maggy was left to mourn among the dead.  Seeing the tremendous need around her, she began taking in dozens of war orphans, then hundreds, then thousands.  She started a community called ‘Maison Shalom’, House of Peace, providing safe places where students could go to school, learn a trade, and form a new community that transcended the poisonous ethnic labels of the past.  She describes Maison Shalom as a sign of the ‘revolution of love’ in the midst of social hatred, embodying a Eucharistic spirituality that ‘includes everything’.  She also has a Eucharistic Adoration chapel where she spends an hour a day in contemplative prayer.  Like Jesus, she too has to ‘withdraw to pray’ in order to have the sustenance to feed the desperate crowds around her.  she is truly a remarkable woman with a remarkable story.  Yet, she deems herself an ordinary Christian who sees the world through the lens of God’s extraordinary grace.  She says, ‘don’t og out and imitate me.  Rather, listen to where God is calling you in your own context’.

Today in my pause for silent contemplation, I will ask Jesus to help me listen to Him telling me how to transform my ordinary vision into His vision.

The Voice of Little Sister Mary Madeleine of Jesus O Jesus, give me Your eyes to see the world as You see it. 

Our poverty and our weakness are the very things the Lord desires, so that it can be He alone acting through us.

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