We know that we all have a “rebellious lower nature” inside of us, an instinctual impulse towards mediocrity, hedonistic pleasure, self-justification, etc. When we give ourselves the chance, we recognize that our character flaws control us more than we prefer.
In this culture of faux freedoms, God is calling us back to Himself. We are free to choose to follow Him or not, but we are not free to choose the consequence of that choice. Only in choosing to follow Christ do our hearts find the answer to our deepest longings.
Lent invites us into the desert. As the Spirit drove Jesus into the desert, so the Spirit drives us into that same place of peace filled scarcity. We live a simpler, more reflective life hoping to confront the demons that bind us to our weakness and imperfections.
According to Leviticus, skin diseases, as well as scars and burns, render persons unclean. What is at stake here is the question of contagion and the health of the community. Because of their condition, the sick person was ostracized from the community.
The tranquil soul is one free of the anxieties described by St. Paul and the unclean spirits described in the Gospel. But this tranquility of soul is not a cheap quality; it must be earned through daily disciplines of prayer, fasting, and repentance.
Sometimes it’s easy to want to know what will happen next. It helps us feel in control. The readings this weekend invite us to a different path, however, one where we are invited to say “yes” to the One who loves us, even if we don’t know all the answers.
Andrew’s willingness to evangelize brought Peter to become a disciple of the Lord. Andrew’s love for Peter moved him to share the truth and joy he had found. How blessed to have someone care enough to step out in faith and share the life found only in Jesus.
It is through our baptisms that we are gifted with the direction and purpose we need to be productive stewards and faithful Christians. It is not only about eternal salvation. In baptism, we receive what we need to fulfill our purpose and labor for the kingdom of God.
While the visit of the magi, representing the nations of the world, is a sign that the salvation offered by the newborn King is for all times and peoples, theologians also saw the magi’s journey as a symbol of conversion and the journey of faith that each of us is traveling.