Colossians 1:1-8Ps 52:10-11Luke 4:38-44www.usccb.org/bible/readings/090617.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/17_09_06.mp3
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon.
Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever,
and they interceded with him about her.
He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her.
She got up immediately and waited on them.
At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him.
He laid his hands on each of them and cured them.
And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.”
But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak
because they knew that he was the Christ.
At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place.
The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him,
they tried to prevent him from leaving them.
But he said to them, “To the other towns also
I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God,
because for this purpose I have been sent.”
And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Good News Reflection:
Temptations didn’t stop challenging Jesus after his 40-day ordeal in the desert. There’s one in today’s Gospel reading. Can you figure it out? It was a subtle temptation, but very significant.
After being rejected in Nazareth, he became hugely popular in Capernaum. The people asked him to stay, because they wanted more of what he could give. Should he give it to them? That would certainly seem like the caring thing to do. Plus, his ministry could thrive there, since he was well-liked. It was easy, comfortable, and he was familiar with the community. It offered the opportunity to accomplish more. The location was ideal, because Capernaum was a popular trading port and many people passed through on their way to many varied places, and they could spread the word widely.
The Holy Spirit nudged him during his prayer time: Don’t stay. It’s time to move on.
How easy it is to stay where we’re accepted, where we feel needed and wanted, where we’re liked. It feels so right that we don’t even ask the Holy Spirit if it’s God’s will that we remain in the same place and ministry. If he nudges us to make a change, we disbelieve it because it doesn’t make sense. And so we hold ourselves back from moving on.
We stay in our current jobs, even when God has something better in mind. We stay in the same Small Christian Community, even when God wants us to grow into leadership and start a new group so that more people can get involved.
We stay where it’s easy and familiar and comfortable, even when God tries to stretch us into new growth and higher levels of trust.
We stay where our egos get stroked, even when the humble walk of holiness means turning away from those who know us and appreciate us, so that we can meet and minister to new people.
If you’ve been comfortable with anything for very long — especially in ministry — very likely God is inviting you to move on and beyond. Will you say yes to following Jesus wherever he leads? Even when it doesn’t make sense or feel easy?
There’s a motto hanging in the Good News Ministries offices: “Jesus leads, Grace provides.” It explains how we’ve been able to experience huge growth from a staff of one (me) working from a corner in my house to a staff of five collaborating in an office suite, making a bigger difference in more lives than ever before.
God doesn’t ask us to forsake everything and everyone that we leave behind when we accept the path of change. Jesus returned to Capernaum again and again. But by staying where we are, we do some good, usually the same good, and by moving on and beyond, we do far more good than we could ever imagine.
Lord: Give me an alert spirit and a generous heart always ready to serve others. I want to follow You wherever You lead, taking Your love to heal, deliver and comfort my brothers and sisters. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica