Sunday, January 28, 2018

Intervention. Intuition. Intensity (2018-01-28, Sunday-04)

January 28, 2018 –  4th, (Year B)

●● Deuteronomy 18:15-20 ●● Psalm 95 ●● 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 ●● Mark 1:21-28 ●●

[__01__]   What we read in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 1 is an an encounter of Jesus, our Savior, with a man who needs a Savior, a man possessed by an evil spirit.

          Immediately, to our contemporary brains,  informed intellects, and Hollywood-influenced personae, this may seem a tall tale or a trailer to a movie that our parents did not let us see [as teenagers, youth, children.]  Few of us have witnessed a person completely taken over – possessed – by an evil spirit.

          Yet, what Jesus is protecting this man from – and trying to protect us from and remind us…that evil is not planted and growing in our hearts, at least not permanently. The world is not divided into good people and evil people, with the latter trying to take revenge on us.

          Rather, any of us can be tempted – drawn in – by a struggle or by the temptation to do something wrong, something which is contrary to goodness, to good sense, to the way in which God made us.

[__02__]   What our Savior offers the people of His day, he also offers to us in the sacraments of Penance and Reconciliation, of Holy Communion, of Baptism, all the sacraments.

          That is, Jesus’ presence is experienced as an INTERVENTION … INTUITION … INTENSITY …

[__03__]     First – Jesus arrivers, intervenes. He may not intervene in the exact way in which he intervenes miraculously – with the exorcism of the possessed man of the Gospel.  He may intervene in more subtle ways. Nevertheless, he is arriving each day. 

          Do we recognize him?

          Sometimes, we only recognize our own desires.

          It is, for example, paradoxical that we could, at times, manifest indifference or laziness – toward a person or toward a project – when perhaps when perhaps we have not even really tried.  Our desire may be for immediate satisfaction.

          Do we accept “interventions” that help us along the way? This come from God, and also via relationships with other.

          Several years ago, in school, I recall that I was on my way to very poor academic performance. And, at the time, a friend – whom I admired and trusted – suggested that I go and see the professor for extra help, for tutoring.

          While this was totally logical – even obvious -- I can honestly say that I would never have taken this step this unless someone had suggested this. I was ready to throw in the towel after a few weeks.

          This was not the first time or last time someone that I needed this push. When we pray, meditate, we are asking not only for a favor – to INTERCEDE ..but also for God to INTERVENE and help us to take action.     

          Teachers intervene, parents intervene, friends intervene, doctors and nurses intervene, grown children intervene for their parents, spouses intervene, and God intervenes not only to give us answers but to help us face the questions.

          Jesus offers INTERVENTION.

 [__04__]     INTUITION. Jesus also offers his disciples, then and now, INTUITION.

          What we read in the Gospel is that the evil spirit recognizes – knows about the Messiah, stating: “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?  Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!  (Mark 1:24)

          The evil spirit has an intuition – knowledge – of Jesus.

However, we are called to remember that the intuition of Jesus is greater than any other. And, he shares this intuition with us. Do we not have INTUITION, a quick a ready insight that we not only have to use when someone is trying to sell us something or scam us… ?

          INTUITION is also something we use to judge whether we can be kind even to the person who may be unkind to us, if we can return a blessing (as St. Paul says) even when we feel insulted or rejected. (Romans 12:14)

          There is Christian intuition.

        In my school study example, I seem to recall the tutoring did not only inform me of what I did not know but also to take responsibility for what I already knew.

          Both INTERVENTION and INTUITION  are good news for us.

[__05__]  INTENSITY.

          Jesus also offers us, as his followers, INTENSITY, a discipline to follow.

          And, when I say INTENSITY, I do not mean Level 14 on the elliptical machine at the gym or 95 mph on I-95.

          Intensity is not the same as TENSION, ANXIETY, or STRESS.

          Tom Brady and the New England Patriots know this, as do their Philadelphia Eagle opponents. They are not necessarily tense about playing in the Super Bowl.      

          In order to gain INTENSITY and FOCUS, we gather together, to pray, we come before God in silence also.

          We may repeat ourselves – and repetition is part of our lives of repentance and forgiveness, as we admit our need for God for his love, his healing, his intensity so that we can rest and be healed in his presence, through his body and blood and his care for our body and soul. [__fin__]

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