Trusting in the Faith Journey

In Mark 5:24-34 Jesus heals a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for 12 years. She had endured much under many physicians but instead of getting better had become worse. Then when she heard about Jesus she believed if she just touched his cloak, she would be healed. So, my initial thought is what inner belief drove the woman to deem that Jesus could heal her?

 I would consider as we know she had tried different physicians and that had not proved successful in fact her debilitating illness had deteriorated. Therefore, she surmised that Jesus was her last chance having heard stories from people that he cured several sick people through his ministry. Hence, it was now a matter of backing her belief and trusting that Jesus could heal her. Furthermore, this was no easy task. She had to battle through a large crowd and also, saw that Jesus was preoccupied with a man called Jairus pleading for him to heal his little daughter. Thus, she had to have the courage to persist and overcome these obstacles when she could have easily walked away and given up. So, her solution was to come up behind him in the crowd and feel his clothes. I wonder how often I fail to persist when there are barriers in my way. Moreover, I need to follow the woman’s lead and put my trust in Jesus.

 Consequently, the woman’s faith was rewarded. “Immediately, aware that the power had gone from him Jesus turned around and said, “Who touched his clothes.? But the woman knowing what had happened to her, came in fear, fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. Jesus, said daughter your faith has made you well go in peace.” Mark 5:33-34 I think this gospel passage is particularly powerful in inviting us to trust in Jesus and turn to him when we are facing difficult challenges in our lives. Additionally, there is the offer that this faith will be rewarded if we continue to acknowledge Jesus’ presence in our lives.

Calming the Storm

On the weekend my AFL football team, Saint Kilda lost a game from a seemingly winning position. After the game there was the usual recriminations for the club, coach and players. The question I ask who ultimately is responsible for the defeat?

I think a little perspective is needed here. It is one loss amongst other losses that have happened over this season. I would argue that in today’s world where performances are forensically analysed by the mainstream media and fans forums on social media the responsibility is divided where the blame lies. I believe you have to understand what were the actions that caused St Kilda’s demise.

I consider the Scriptural context through the Jesus calming the storm best mirrors the defeat St Kilda suffered. In Mark 4: 37-38 the disciples are in a boat with Jesus. Suddenly, the boat is under attack from a storm.  The disciples, wake up Jesus who is asleep saying to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’  Hence, the disciples are shifting the onus of accountability from them to do something about the storm to Jesus. Consequently, in the case of the disciples it is not about liability but responsibility. There is no reason to point fingers or make accusations that exude negativity and is the road to nowhere but embrace the challenge. Additionally, the reaction to panic means no logical action is going to take place it is only going to inflame the situation. I liked how Jesus asked the hard questions of the disciples, as he calmed the sea, ‘why are you afraid have you still no faith?’ Mark 4:40 I would argue that if the emphasis is on Jesus to solve the problem, then what happens if another problem arises and Jesus is not around?

All problems and issues can not just be attributable to one person or one factor either instigating them or providing a positive outcome. Everyone involved in the situation must also be part of the solution, reliance on a few is not sustainable. For the disciples it is believing they have the necessary gifts from God to create favourable conclusions. While for St Kilda it is everyone taking ownership of the issues and placing their trust in their team mates and coach to produce successful results.

Furthermore, both the disciples and the St Kilda players should be appreciative of the opportunities they have been given. The disciples continuing Christ’s mission and the St Kilda team to play AFL football. Moreover, they need to acknowledge their followers and fanbase by leaving a legacy that ensures the future of the Church and the football club for generations to come. I am a great believer that everything happens for a reason it is learnings that motivates change and a willingness to overcome adversity that builds dynasties.

Celebrating a Wonderful Life

Last week my Auntie passed away Mary. Yesterday we celebrated her life with a Mass followed by a gathering of my auntie, uncle, cousins and friends. There many stories were told about her rich and fulfilling life.

 The stories I liked best were the tales of self- sacrifice, for her parents, her husband, her children, grandchildren and her family business. Mary from a young age was committed to helping her parents in the family market garden doing whatever was necessary to ensure the produce was ready to sell so, they could put food on the table. It would not have been easy long days outside in glasshouses overcoming what ever the weather had in store. The fact that Mary chose what her parents had asked of her, depicted Mary’s resilience and desire to work hard.

 This was exemplified in setting up a family-owned petrol station with her husband, son and daughter. She would operate the cash register and sort out the accounts with her daughter while her husband and son would attend to the mechanical repairs. In other words, she was the face of the service station and therefore, it was vital that through her friendly service and meeting the needs of customers, she guaranteed that the business would be successful.

Above all, and most importantly, were her relationships with her family and friends. This was underpinned by Mary’s faith demonstrated by her praying of the rosary daily. She was able to provide wisdom and display generosity to those who required her guidance as they journeyed through life’s complex issues. She always made time for me and for that I am truly grateful.