1 Corinthians 7:32-35
Be free of anxieties. /v.32a
I know who you are – the Holy One of God! /v.24b
Happy Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time!
It’s a really interesting thought. Nutty, actually.
“Have no anxiety at all.”
Every time I read the first line of this particular passage from 1st Corinthians I laugh, sarcastically, and say “yeah, RIGHT! In this life? No way.” And I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m probably not alone. I mean, just think of the simple things we are worried about every day: food and shelter and clothing, taxes, work, bills, family, friends, and oh so much more.
And then these things: Betrayal. Hate. Murder. War. Illness. Death.
But what about our spirit?
Do we worry about our soul?
I was reading Charles Dickens’ “The Christmas Carol” the other night. Ok, I know that you’re saying “The Christmas Carol? Puccinelli, you’re the one who’s NUTTY!” Well, you’re probably right… but bear with me for a moment.
I think we probably all will know this story… A wealthy miser called Scrooge is tormented by 4 spirits: at first, one of an old friend, and then three others who turn the screws on him until he’s frenzied and nearly out of control. It’s only at that moment that he accepts the call of God through the glory of Christmas, the point in time when he begins following the example of Christ, that he is saved. It’s Jesus that saves Scrooge.
It’s not unlike today’s Gospel (Mark 1:21-28), when Jesus calls out to a man tortured by a frantic spirit and commands him healing, peaceful salvation. What a gift to know that God wants us to be peaceful and happy, and is willing to help us get there. It is Jesus who saves us. All we have to do is recognize Jesus for who he really is: The Christ, the Lamb who takes our sins.
“The Holy One of God.”
Dear God of all healing, thank you for the incredible prize of your powerful salvation. Please grant us the grace to know you and have all anxiety flee our souls at the sound of your voice. Amen.
Peace and love to you today, and forever.
Paul Puccinelli is Director of Liturgy & Music at St. Rita Parish in Sierra Madre, California, and a member of the retreat team at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center.