Sunday, January 29, 2012
Jesus and his disciples went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, "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." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, "What is this? A new teaching-- with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him." At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.
There are times in our lives when our situations, for whatever reason, seem like they will never turn around. Whether it happens because of finances,physical ailments, emotional challenges... there are just those times when we feel possessed, caught, and stuck in a downward spiral. It can be easy to give up hope when things have been a struggle for so long.
Our Gospel for today reminds us that God draws near to those who are suffering, and healing comes to those who have suffered long. God is not limited by our failures, our struggles, our shortcomings or our addictions. God is greater than all the challenges we face. Our human reaction to long struggles is often despair and discouragement. Even when we fall low, God draws near and touches us deeply with healing and love.
Today, as the suns sets on a challenging day, I ask God to draw near to all those who find themselves falling into despair. May God draw near, as the day ends, to breathe new life into those who have suffered long. And may we, who have received hope in times of despair, reach out with love and encouragement to those who need to be hear that God is near.
Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.