January 17, 2014
(St. Anthony of the Desert, Abbot)
In the days of Samuel the great prophet and seer, the Israelites
. . . refused to listen to Samuel’s warning and said, “Not so! There must be a king over us. We too must be like other nations, with a king to rule us and to lead us in warfare and fight our battles.” 1 Sm 8:4-7, 10-22a
Losing all faith in God, they longed to be inferior, like the other nations!
Jesus said to the paralytic man, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Mk 2:1-12
If they only knew! They were absolutely right. God, Jesus forgave his sins. But you know what, brothers and sisters in Christ? We can forgive others sins against us as well! All it takes is a compassionate heart and the Love of God within us!
Homily for today:
There is an interesting twist of irony between our first reading and the Gospel today. In the Scripture we heard from the Book of Samuel, the Israelites are pleading with Samuel, their Spiritual Leader, to appoint a king for them. It seemed they not only lost their faith in God, but in Samuel’s successors as well. And being leaderless, they were willing to give up their freedom, their earnings and even their land, in order to have a worldly Leader. In essence, they felt that they needed a new God. And they thought in their minds, that a man could fill those shoes just as well – in serving as their king.
Then in Mark’s Gospel reading, we hear just the opposite. In spite of the fact that Jesus had attracted so many people, just to listen to His Words, that there was not even enough room in the house for them all . . . And in spite of the fact that after He had earned such a reputation for curing and healing people, that they were tearing the roof apart to get close to him . . . The simple mention of forgiving sins, just blew the scribes away, because they had created their own God in their Temple and in themselves. And they didn’t need nor want another leader, and especially God – in the form of man, because that was a threat to their own self-proclaimed Godliness.
So there we are in the first case, where the Israelites lost the Spirituality of God and only wanted a physical Leader. And in the second case, the scribes only wanted the untouchable Spirituality of God and not His physical reality, in Jesus.
And yet, both cases were similar, in that we, mankind, always seem to want to define our Creator ourselves, rather than accepting the fact that someone so unfathomable to our little minds, as God, actually defines us. It would be like an ant trying to understand and explain a remote control vehicle riding around on the planet Mars.
Which then brings us to the question. Who is OUR God? Have we placed God in our own little box? Or can we be open minded enough to see God in the smallest child, or in the poorest refugee, or in the richest sultan?
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