But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him. When Jesus became aware of this, he departed. Many crowds followed him, and he cured all of them, and he ordered them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “Here is my servant, whom I have chosen, my beloved, with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not wrangle or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. He will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick until he brings justice to victory. And in his name the Gentiles will hope.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Two themes stand out for me in today’s Gospel: Humility and hope. During this time in Jesus’ ministry, the number of people who knew about him was growing, and public and private opinions became more and more controversial. Jesus didn’t start a PR campaign or hire a team of lawyers to defend his name; he withdrew. But he didn’t slip into obscurity—he continued to cure and heal people, staying with them, always faithful and true. What a beautiful passage to help us reflect on his meekness and faithfulness, even in the face of extreme controversy and danger.
How can I be like Jesus when I find myself in places where the odds are against me? For many of us, our natural response is to fight back, in an effort to protect our ego or feelings or strong point of view. And, of course, there are times when self-defense or protecting others is the right thing to do, but how often do you consider retreating quietly and peacefully?
Which brings me to hope. In Ignatian spirituality, there is a practice called the Examen, which is a daily examination of conscience. I’ve seen different variations of the Examen, and one I’ve learned recently is five steps, and goes like this: Become aware of God’s presence; review the day with gratitude; pay attention to your emotions; choose one feature of the day and pray from it; look forward to tomorrow. I’ve found the last step very fruitful for growing in hope: Whatever my cares of the day, I have faith that each and every one is under God’s watchful, loving eye; and though I see ways I could have handled myself better or more virtuously, I believe that the Lord is ever with me, and wants me to look forward to tomorrow, in hope.
—Kristin Dillon is a lay minister who participates in Charis Ministries programs. She lives in Chicago with her husband and nine-month-old son.
Holy God, I thank you for your gifts of grace and hope. Stir my soul with gratitude for your daily presence in all I attempt and accomplish. I place my life in your hands this day. Praise to you always—God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen!Please share the Good Word with your friends!