January 31, 2023
Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today
Saint John Bosco, Priest—Memorial
While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” Mark 5:35–36
This short line is one worth pondering every day. “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” This statement can apply to many situations we experience throughout our lives. It is a command of love from our Lord and is a command that we all need to hear, especially when hardships come our way.
First, it should be noted that this was a grave situation in which extreme emotion and temptations to fear would be understandable. The father in this story had a young daughter at the point of death, and he came to beg Jesus to heal her. Jesus agreed. But while they were on their way, Jesus and the father received the heartbreaking news that the daughter had just died. As any parent would know, this news must have been incredibly difficult to hear. So begin by trying to understand the grief that this father was experiencing. Try to especially understand his grief at that moment as he heard this devastating news.
As you ponder his grief, try to also ponder the heart, thinking, emotions and words of Jesus. Jesus had no fear. He knew that this would end very well. But because He also had deep empathy and love for this grieving father, Jesus turned to him to give him hope. Hope in the midst of a very difficult and painful experience in life is hard to come by. When faced with grief, it is very tempting to give in to despair. Despair is a complete loss of hope. Despair keeps us from God and strips us of faith. But despair is always avoidable if we follow Jesus’ command of love. “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
What is it that tempts you to fear in life? What is it that tempts you to lose your hope? Perhaps you struggle with the death of a loved one, and you find it very difficult. Perhaps your grief comes from small sources and is only minor right now. The truth is that all of us will experience small temptations to lose hope every day. And most will also experience grave temptations at one time or another. For these reasons, we must all constantly listen to Jesus’ words and work to dispel every fear in life as we invite God to bestow upon us the gift of hope that comes from unwavering faith in His plan for our lives.
Reflect, today, upon any struggles you have with despair, fear or anxiety in life. As you do, know that all things are possible when you turn to God with faith. Faith does not necessarily remove the hardships of life; it does something even better. It transforms hardships so that you can endure them with grace, joy and supernatural hope. When this happens, everything in life has the potential to be used by God for our good. All we need to do is continually reject fear and “just have faith.”
My compassionate Lord, You consoled this grieving father and instilled within him the gifts of faith and hope. Please also speak your command of love to me, calling me to trust in You no matter what I struggle with in life. May I always have faith in You and never fall into despair or fear. Jesus, I trust in You.
Saint of the Day – Saint John Bosco, Priest
Featured image above: The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter By Gabriel von Max, via Wikimedia Commons