Sunday, February 4, 2018

Finding Hope in the Gospel

It is so easy for one to look out in the world around us and find little to be hopeful for. We are constantly bombarded with news of toxic politics, scandals, and our own personal struggles. In a sense we can become slaves to the world being pulled into incessant twenty-four news cycle especially with alerts from our devices if we so choose.  So where do we find purpose and hope?

We are restless until dawn paraphrasing Job. Better yet we are always restless. The words of Job seem to ring true, "Is not man's life on earth drudgery?"  But this is a human condition, one that is devoid of God. What is the answer?

In today's Gospel from Mark we find Jesus curing both the possessed and infirm throughout the whole day. Where does he get his strength to go on from what must have been an emotionally and physically draining task? He rises early and goes to a deserted place to pray. We are not told of his prayer content. However, knowing that he had tremendous pity and love for the afflicted, we can imagine that his prayer might have been along the lines of asking for strength to carry on.

In Mark 1:38 Jesus tells the disciples, "Let us go to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come." Finding purpose in his calling, Jesus knew well.

Paul also talks of his purpose to carry the message using the word slave. As he says he has an obligation to preach to save at least some. He clearly has found his purpose and he is not ashamed in the slightest bit.

I find in both the Paul and Jesus that the sense of purpose is reassuring. I struggle with my purpose especially as my life seems to be going in many different directions at times. Even though Jesus and Paul didn't have a family in the sense that I have, their family was the human race. Jesus had to make decisions about when to stay and when to leave villages and people as he preached. Paul likewise meandered throughout Asia Minor and eventually to Rome. My own journeys have taken me to different job locations, interactions with different people, and through a variety of  relationships.  In the midst of all of this it is important to me to find that time to escape and find silence.

What is found in these moments is the hope that relationships can be healed, that I can accept my own sufferings and afflictions with hope and that I can be helped up to make it through the next day. My purpose seems to vary from day to day, but it does come to two simple words, love and service. The gospel echoes with these two themes and it then falls upon me in a sense to become an entrusted steward as Paul states.

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