Sunday, June 28, 2015

Are We Contagious?

This weekend's Gospel included the story of a woman afflicted with hemorrhages. 

In the spirit of "every-time-I-hear-a-Gospel-reading-I-see-it-in-a-new-way", I noticed "contagiousness" from a different angle.

In Jesus' day, people believed touching a person who was hemorrhaging would make them unclean.  There was a belief that such diseases were contagious.  (Obviously some were in the physical sense, but more importantly, they believed they were contagious in a spiritual sense as well.) 

The woman, however, knew that Jesus was also "contagious" ... that if she could just touch him she would "catch" his holiness and be cured.  

She, of course, was right. 

This reflection made me think about which kind of 'contagious" we are.  How often do we think about contagiousness in a good way?  Or role model it?  When people come in contact with us, do they leave more holy?  On the flip side, do we try and surround ourselves with holy people so that we "catch" more goodness? 

Or are we contagious in a bad way?  There are many events that have taken place these past weeks that are examples of this bucket.  Groups and individuals have made decisions and spread teachings that are contaminating followers in ways that are not in line with God's teaching.  And because many of these followers do not surround themselves with Jesus or other holy people, they are getting spiritually sicker. 

I pray this week for all those who are spiritually sick.  May they find a way to "catch" Jesus and may the Holy Spirit strengthen us to help them find Him.  

Sunday, June 14, 2015


This week we celebrated the Feast Day of St. Barnabas.  

As such, I took a little bit of time to reflect on what a important player Barnabas was in our Faith.

Surprisingly, it is not clear when Barnabas converted.  Some think he was in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified, and one of the 70 Disciples.  Others believe he was converted sometime after Pentecost.   He first appears to us in Acts, where he sells his land and gives the proceeds to the community.  

What is very clear, however, is the courage and conviction he had.  For example, he stood as sponsor for Paul after his conversion.   This was no small task, considering that the Apostles must have been terrified of Saul, the man that passionately persecuted them.  We all know what Paul and Barnabas went on to do for Christianity, but the brave task of believing in the converted Saul often gets overlooked.  

Barnabas also had the courage, and forgiveness, to give John Mark a second chance.  John Mark had left Paul and Barnabas during one of their journeys, and such actions must have upset Paul.  But Barnabas was open to giving John Mark a reprieve - despite it leading to he and Paul going their separate ways.  (Later, Paul spoke highly of John Mark, the man who is believed to have written one of our four Gospels.)

Of course, both of these acts are overshadowed by the courage Barnabas showed by preaching the Word in hostile and foreign environments.  

Barnabas is believed to be martyred while preaching the Gospel, but remains a shining example for all Christians. 

God Bless you.