The Freedom of God

09-26-2021Weekly Reflection© J. S. Paluch Company

Today's readings remind us that God is free: God acts as God wills regardless of what human beings might expect. In the reading from Numbers, God's spirit enters two men, Eldad and Medad, even though they had not been with the others who had received the spirit of God. And in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus endorses an unknown exorcist, who did God's work in the name of Jesus but was not officially sanctioned by the disciples. That God's spirit is shared widely does not threaten Moses or Jesus. They celebrate the notion that God’s spirit blows where it wills.


Two Paths

09-19-2021Weekly Reflection© J. S. Paluch Company

Today’s first two readings present a striking contrast between two pathways in life. InWisdom and the letter from James we are told of the path of the wicked, which leads tooppression and violence. We also hear of the path of the faithful, which leads to peaceand human flourishing. Then our Gospel reading from Mark takes our reflection farther.The choice is shown to be not so simple or obvious. The path of faithfulness means following Jesus’ lead, to expand our circle of care toward everyone, especially the most vulnerable. This path also includes opening ourselves to suffering and trials, as we face resistance from within and from outside us. The two paths essentially diverge over whetherwe refuse or accept God’s love. Each day we face such choices as God invites us into thedivine circle of care and enlists us to extend our own circle to those around us.


Suffering, Hope and Love

09-12-2021Weekly Reflection© J. S. Paluch Company

Our readings from Isaiah and from the Gospel of Mark confront us with the fact that the invitation to faith leads us into suffering. In Isaiah, the prophet accepts pain and shaming from others, as he trusts in God. In Mark, Jesus is blunt about this: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” When we embrace faith, we are confronted with our own fears about suffering and about losing comfort, status, and control over our lives.


God Lifts Us Up

09-05-2021Weekly Reflection© J. S. Paluch Company

Our readings this Sunday describe God’s work of liberation for those who are vulnerable. Isaiah portrays the coming of God in terms of the healing of the blind, the deaf, and the lame. James notes that God chooses the poor to be rich in faith. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus heals a deaf person who has a speech impediment. The readings remind us of the acute struggles of the disabled, the excluded, and the poor. In the last year and a half, the pandemic has reminded us that we are all vulnerable, that illness and death are near us always. Today we hear that God’s presence is revealed when God lifts us up, and when we join God to lift each other up. Our care for others, especially those in greatest need, can be our grateful response to God’s healing of us in our own vulnerability.