Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO
7th Saturday in Ordinary Time
James 5:13-20; Mark 10:13-16
Prayer is a powerful antidote to evil. Saint James proposes it as the occupation of the person of faith, no matter what the circumstances. He seems to be echoing the sentiments that the apostle to the gentiles wrote the church at Thessalonica, “Never stop praying” (1 Thes. 5:17). If you are suffering – keep praying. If you are in good spirits – keep praying. If you are sick — keep praying. If you have sinned – keep praying. If you know someone who has strayed from the truth – keep praying. The believer is to pray with the tenacity of a child who knows his Father’s love for him. When we pray, we do not look to our worthiness or merit. No, we trust in God’s gracious kindness and mercy that has made us His own. Recall these words spoke through the Prophet Isaiah, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine: (Is. 43:1).
God’s favor and mercy are extended to all those He has made His own in the blood of His Son. Because He has redeemed us, we are precious in his sight. Because we are His children, He calls us to come to Him in faith and confidence. We believe that we have been baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire. When we pray, we are to remember the fascination we had as children when we played with fire. Jesus said as much in today’s gospel: “Let the children [within you] come to me; do not prevent them” (Mk. 10:14). Jesus told us that we need to change our attitude: “I assure you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enjoy the blessings of the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 18:3). Despite the fact that we often forget we are God’s Children, God never forgets that He is out Father.
We have to rediscover the joy of our youth when we were teachable and willing to depend on our heavenly Father. We need to be renewed in spirit so that we might entrust ourselves with child-like abandonment into the love and care of God and so discover the Father’s deepest mercy. Let us live in the joy of the children of God and manifest the Spirit that transforms the world.