My thoughts from Mark 5: 1-20.
Yes, I am a little late today. Me and my computer. All was typed and ready for you just before 8 AM when I lost all that was done. Had to leave for Mass. More than an hour trying to get this into print this afternoon.
If you can, a read of the Mark citation above will help you better understand what the Holy Spirit put into my mind yesterday when I started preparing this letter to you. What went on between Jesus and the deranged man and others like him can be helpful to us in our needs. This is not to insinuate that you are or have been deranged!
As I read the story over several times, I found myself focusing on the experience of the deranged man coming to Jesus for help in ridding himself of the pain he must have been suffering. Here was a man to whom I found a linking. I do not hang out in cemeteries or find myself shackled by chains. But I do recognize that in my life there have been times when I have found myself struggling to maintain a close relationship with God, with Jesus and at time with the Holy Spirit. I honestly assume that you have encountered the same experience. We have allowed ourselves to become shackled by one bad habit or another.
Finally, when I am smart enough to realize I need the help of God, I come before Jesus, just as did the deranged man. "Get me out of this cemetery and the chains that shackle me," is my prayer to Jesus. Continuing to break free through my own effort but with the added help of my brother, Jesus, my world begins to change. You know it could be laziness; it could be letting myself become so absorbed in a project that I let prayer slide or get very little attention. Whether something not terribly significant or a habit or practice that creates difficulty between God and me, I know that all I need to do is turn to Jesus Christ. And, just as quickly as he healed the deranged man, He will turn his healing powers to me and to you.
When I realize that I have been given new strength by my Savior, I sense the joy of new freedom. I have overcome one thing or another and realize what a blessing it is to have our God, our brother, Jesus, as friend.
And, you know, when you go through this healing, your joy most likely instigates a feeling in your heart to share with others the greatness of God. When the healed man asks Jesus if can go with him to wherever he is going, Jesus refuses his request. Why? Because Jesus knows that the man is alive again with faith. Jesus tells him to return to his family and friends, his community. There he should tell the people how God came into his life with such healing and love. It is the feeling I experience each time I am absolved of my own sins when I take advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
I want others to know how great our God is.
Imagine what our world would be like if all of us were able to share with others not an account of our sinfulness but an account of how willing God is to free us from what shackles us. Try it sometime. You will feel even happier and freer. What a blessing!
Oremus pro invicem! [Please get used to this "sign off" from me: it means "Let us pray for each other"]