22 January, Saturday – God doesn’t fit in a box

Saturday of Week 2 in Ordinary Time

2 Sam 1:1-4,11-12,19,23-27
Mk 3:20-21

…convinced he was out of his mind.

I have been praying daily for the seminarians in our Archdioceses (each has been designated a day of the month) and have read a bit about each one on his designated day on the CalledByChrist website. Today’s gospel reading included a verse that I highlighted as a favorite of Seminarian Patrick Creamer. Upon reading his reflection last month, I was enlightened and encouraged, and it now seems appropriate to share it today with you!   

One of my favorite scripture verses is a tiny line tucked inside Mark. Early on in the ministry of Christ, when Jesus had just called His apostles and began working miracles and His teaching, Mark goes on to say: “When His relatives heard of this they set out to seize Him, for they said, ‘He is out of His mind.’” Mark 3:21.

He is out of His mind. I love this verse for a couple reasons. Firstly, in our modern culture, Jesus can often be pushed as the gentle, kind, peaceful guy just trying to convince everyone to be nice to each other. Our secular society also tries to relegate the Christian faith to something personal that needs to be kept out of the public sphere. This verse turns that thinking on its head. Christ’s words and actions are so potent and counter-cultural that his own family thinks he has gone mad and set out to stop Him. But this is how we are called to live. We are called to live counter-culturally and to get right in the face of the culture, like Christ our head. Secondly, we all have a tendency to put constraints on God and how He acts in the world. But God can’t be put in a box, his family tried to do it and so do we. He is a lion, wild and free. We can never fully comprehend how God works nor should we ever doubt His power.

Patrick’s words opened my eyes in several ways. First, I am again reminded of the vast depth of meaning, of wisdom in just a few words of scripture. So much more in every line than we humans could ever conceive. We truly could spend an entire lifetime pondering one single verse. Secondly the profound truth of how we, even as Catholic Christians, have paled Jesus Christ so that he ‘fits in’ and gently loves all; we insinuate (or let others state) that his unconditional love must accept actions that are contrary to His words…in the name of love. Thirdly, that I do try to put Jesus…God…in a box! MY BOX. How insane, arrogant, foolish…… is that? Fourth (and I’ll stop at four), that I too doubt His power in so many ways. I realize that if I would spend more time in worship, more time in SILENCE with Him, my doubts would begin to evaporate and then He truly would use my mouth, my hands, my feet to carry out His will. 

I hope you’ll reread Patrick’s words above. They have truly set my heart on fire in a desire to know and love Jesus on a new level, to fully see HIM and not merely my limited understanding of Him in my small world.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Gina Ulicny)

Prayer: Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done.

Thanksgiving: Father God, we thank you for your constant reassurance of your Holy presence in our life.  Thank you for all the sparks of divine love that You sprinkle on our path.

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