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Faith Daily | 3 February 2022

PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 533


O Lord,

you have taught us

that all our doings without love are worth nothing:

send your Holy Spirit,

and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love,

the true bond of peace and of all virtues,

without which whoever lives is counted dead before you.

Amen.


GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 6: 7-13

7He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ 12So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.


GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Graeme Curnow


We have reflected on similar passages from other Gospels in the past couple of years where the 12 original disciples (including Judas Iscariot) are assigned the daunting task of going into communities to proclaim repentance and to heal the afflicted. They went with minimal possessions and had to rely on the hospitality of others. The disciples at this time were novices being trained by Jesus for their future roles and it seems they were yet to gain a full understanding that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God. Never-the-less they had sufficient faith and trust in their Leader; they obeyed Him and they achieved astonishing results!


I am focussing this time on the authority over unclean spirits that Jesus gave them and the success the disciples had in curing the sick and casting out demons.


These days we generally avoid talk about demons and dismiss demonic possession as pre-scientific superstition, yet we frequently run into references to demons and demonic possession in the Gospels. It has been suggested to me that we might understand the demonic in terms of people being "out of their mind". That is, when people are acting abnormally and in a way that is not usual for them. Such behaviour is NOT their fault!


Examples come to mind of untreated Schizophrenics, the many of us suffering from Depression, Addicts to drugs, alcohol, sex or power over others, plus the well-publicised scourge of Domestic Violence. (In the latter example the majority of perpetrators are men who have been driven insane by life's circumstances and vicissitudes, then, in the worst cases, they preform acts of cruelty and horrific murders upon those they formerly loved.)


Even with great advances in medicine, treatments, science, psychiatry and psychology it seems these conditions can rarely be cured. At best, they can be just be controlled or abated.


YET, without the benefit of 21st C medical marvels, the "apprentice apostles" were successful!


Why is this so?


And why are most ordinary Christians in the modern churches unable to emulate the early disciples, or those that were later baptised with the Holy Spirit at (and after) Pentecost?


A disturbing thought comes to mind…. Perhaps we modern Christians have less affinity with the mainstream Apostles and more in common with Judas Iscariot?


We must beware that we do not eventually lose our faith in our Lord Jesus and fall out of love with Him.


FINAL PRAYER: Jim Cotter “Unfolding the Word” p205


Living Presence,

whose love has been betrayed and denied

over and over again,

and whose covenants have been torn apart,

forgive our lack of trust and loyalty,

and call us to yourself again,

we who bear the marks of Judas and Cain.

Amen.

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