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Providence Spirituality

The Gospel according to Mark 1, 14-20

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.

Sunday Reflection January 24, 2021

The Gospel According to St Mark 1, 14-20


One thing that makes my heart burst with joy is to recognize that Jesus is boldness itself. I imagine how shocking it must have been to live with Him, as well as how difficult it was, for many, to believe in such a wonderful person!

In all my talks, I underline the fact that Jesus is a revolutionary par excellence, and he is to the point where some people even call him “crazy” or “fanatic”!  As we heard in yesterday’s gospel.

Jesus comes to change our schemes, our mentality. For those who live their daily life between the extremes of “always and never”, Jesus rocks their life and he becomes a real threat, which is why the Pharisees cannot stand him, which is why he is so criticized and judged, which is the reason why he dies… The time has come, the promised messiah has arrived, stop waiting and enjoy the living presence of God with us, that is the message of the good news…

I have not studied theology. My closest experience with the exegesis of the Word of God is my experience of encounter with it, and from there I dare to affirm that the Kingdom of God was established forever with the death and resurrection of Jesus; in Him begins the meaning of our existence, we live to never die, death eliminates the body but not the soul, the love… Jesus allows us to transcend… We live to love eternally, to experience the communion and brotherhood ETERNALLY. That is part of the good news, and the driving force of our existence.

As Sisters of Providence we have been called, like the disciples, to announce this good news, that the Kingdom of God is in our midst; with Emilie, we understand and transcend the experience of death, of the pain caused by loss and we transform it into provident action, we turn it into an experience of communion and fraternity. Like Joseph and Bernarda, who do not content themselves with words, but translate into deeds their experience of encounter with Christ, their experience of love and dedication to their neighbor, with a sense of transcendence and communion. They do not live for themselves; on the contrary, their whole life is a testimony of the search and desire for fraternal communion. That is why they are capable of leaving everything and following Him … but they do not just do so in words, or just by founding or becoming part of a religious community through a public consecration; all those facts do not speak for themselves, and what gives true testimony is how that translates into a daily dedication, by means of which we show and live the Kingdom of God in the midst of those who suffer, but above all in the midst of the sisters of the community, in the way we experience love, forgiveness, mercy; in the way we seek to heal and cure our wounds and those of our sisters, or else why our choice to be and to stay in a religious community?  What sense of transcendence  do I give to my consecration?  To leave everything and follow Him is to change our mentality; it is to transform our lives where the unthinkable then becomes a reality, like the love for our enemies. The disciples followed him, but within the group were those who denied him, fell asleep, left him alone and betrayed him; and those who accompanied him on the path to death and those who were there when he rose from death… Who are we? What is our discipleship like? Emilie, Joseph and Bernarda were true responses to the social reality of their time. What is our proclamation of the Kingdom today? What is our response to the social reality of this time?

God does not call us once and for all, he knows our weakness and every day he comes to meet us, so every day, in every moment of our day, in every circumstance, we have the possibility to say yes, I want to follow you, even in the midst of this chaos, this crisis, this social reality, here I am: With you, Lord, everything is good news!

May the Lord give us the wisdom and grace to discover Him in the middle of pain, crisis, and uncertainty as our founders did. Current times are a strong invitation to renew our commitment, with a sense of transcendence while facing pain and death, in order to be reborn and to live with the happiness and joy of the good news of the Kingdom that is among us. God bless us and give us a beautiful week.

Mariana Peña, SP