Jan. 21, 2015 Wednesday: St. Agnes
1. Today's Scripture (Mk 3: 1-6)
Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent.
He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
2. Reflection (Word Among Us, www.wau.org)
What brings you peace? A few moments of silence? A clean home? A colorful sunset?
What about a peace that persists even in the midst of a chaotic, noisy, disrupted day? A peace that is founded on an interior calm and not external circumstances? That’s the kind of peace that today’s first reading is pointing to—the peace that comes from a clear conscience.
Think of the sinful woman, whose story is told in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 7:36-50). Moved by Jesus’ words of mercy and forgiveness, she offers him an extravagant gesture of love: she anoints his feet, bathes them in her tears, and wipes them with her hair. Jesus is moved by her display and gives voice to what she has already experienced: “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (7:50). Freed from guilt over her sins, she can now move forward in her life, at peace with herself and with the Lord.
This woman’s story is our story. So is the story of the prodigal son and Zacchaeus and so many others. The Gospels are filled with stories of men and women who had a personal encounter with Jesus, experienced his merciful touch, and went away filled with peace. They tell us that the same experience is available to us: Jesus can become our own king of peace!
Where can we find this peace? In the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In this very personal, very private sacrament, we encounter Jesus in the person of the priest. We seek forgiveness, and we hear the comforting, inspiring words: I absolve you of all your sins… . May God grant you pardon and peace.” In that moment, we become the sinful woman, the prodigal son, the unjust tax collector, and every other person who met Jesus and felt his love. In that moment, we receive the peace we long for.
The next time you have an opportunity for Confession, take advantage of it. Know that in some mysterious way, you will be meeting Jesus—the Savior who came not to condemn you but to redeem you. Come to him, and let him fill you with his peace.
“Jesus, thank you for the gift of peace that flows from your merciful touch!”