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Engaging the Word: February 1, 2015

Trying to comprehend the Creator of all that is, when we take it far enough, we find our attempt ultimately frustrated. Why is there anything at all? Because. Because is about the best we can do, and that big Because, that Reason for everything and for the way things are is something we cannot in the end fully grasp. In the reading this Sun-day from Deuteronomy Moses reminds the Israelites of what they said at Mount Horeb, “Let us not again hear the voice of the LORD, our God, nor see this great fire any more, lest we die.” Trying to take in God directly, facing God’s divinity is just too much. Moses assures the Israelites, however, that God will raise up for them a prophet who is like them, someone from among their kin whose words will be God’s words.

This Sunday’s Psalm reminds us to be attentive when God speaks and to be open to a new way of hearing God’s voice. This should held prepare the Good News of Jesus. The Church in pairing the selection from Deuteronomy with the section from Mark’s Gospel we hear today points to Jesus as the one who is one of us who speaks perfectly the words of God in ways that we can comprehend.

In the Gospel reading we hear today Jesus enters a synagogue and begins to teach. All those gathered are astonished as his teaching. They have been gathering, trying to work things out on their own and with the guidance of the scribes, but this guy that they are now hearing really seems to get it. There is something peaceful and calming yet at the same time challenging about what he has to say. Even one of the townspeople who had berated the synagogue attendees for their quest to seek the word of God and disdained their leaders immediately became captivated by Jesus. He convulsed a bit as he did not want to admit that he had been wrong about God’s ability to speak to humans in terms they could understand, but Jesus simply told him to quiet the false reasonings to which the man had clung, to relax and to know that it is as a human person fully alive and living the will of God that we can in fact come to know and love the Creator of all that is.

As we continue our consideration of Jesus’ public ministry, let’s pray for the grace to know him as those who encountered him in person, nearly 2,000 years ago. May we find peace and grow in our comfort that we, in our human condition, can come to know and do all that we need to receive God’s love and share it with all the world.

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