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Ezra 9:5-9; Luke 9:1-6

As I pondered today’s readings, I was struck by contrast from the first to the last.  In the first reading, there is a sense of powerlessness and guilt yet by the last reading, we read of being filled with power as the disciples are empowered to go forth and heal the world. Perhaps so telling of how we are when we truly embrace our Savior – from guilt and powerlessness to having the strength to face anything.

The first reading speaks of wretchedness and shame while seeking the mercy of the Lord.  There is such fear evident in the reading, the fear that we so frequently carry through our lives.  Are we worthy? Have we done enough? Do we have enough? We so often focus on what we cannot do or did wrong.  Whether at work or with family, fear is often times the background emotion.  It has been said that fear is the opposite of love.  It may lead us to actions that we later regret or prevent us from actions that we should take. Yet, mercy and love is always evident in our relationship with God.  As this reading ends, we are given a new life.  Symbolic of what we can have if we let go of the fear and replace it with love. If we give all and not be satisfied with just going through the motions.

Our responses in the psalm sing of the praises of God, Blessed be God, who lives forever. When we focus on God and the gifts so generously given to us, we can’t keep the fear.  It has been said that God and fear cannot occupy the same space.  So,  it becomes a choice for us to replace the fear with God. The responses echo as we celebrate days of gladness.

Lastly, the gospel reminds us of the power that we all have as a result of Christ’s death for us.  We need nothing more than that belief for the journey, this journey of life. The material things are there to serve us, not for us to serve them.  We are empowered to make a difference in this world, not by what we have or own rather by replacing fear with love and helping those around us.

By Nancy Shirley

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