Readings: Jonah 3:1-5,10; 1 Cor. 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20
Forty days more; time is running out; this is a time of fulfilment. The readings this Sunday proclaim an urgent appeal for conversion through the transforming power of prayer – the first sign of a dynamic Catholic. In the first reading, Jonah preaches to the Ninivites and they turn away from their sins. They are transformed. In the Gospel Jesus proclaims repentance and calls his disciples who respond and are transformed. Paul in the second reading makes a passionate appeal for our transformation because “time is running out”. If “time is running out”, am I ready? How is my spiritual health? When my day begins with grumpiness and continues with road rage; when I don’t want to see anybody near; when I want things to go my way; when I want to control things, then my spiritual health is down and in need of transformation. How do I transform my spiritual health? A flight passenger once shared his experience on a flight from Honolulu to San Francisco sitting behind a family with a crying baby. He could have remained miserable on that flight, but when he resorted to praying for the family, the situation changed. Prayer, the first sign of a dynamic Catholic is transformative. It has the power to change the way we look at situations, because it is not about us; it about the other. In the story of the passenger on the flight, he prayed for the family that was struggling with a crying baby and the situation calmed down all the way. He was transformed.
So how do I transform my infected spiritual health? The answer is through prayer. All it takes is to establish a routine of daily prayer and follow it. Dynamic Catholics begin their day with personal prayer. They establish a routine and will do everything to defend that routine even if it means waking up one hour earlier. You see, it is not enough to say I want to pray daily. I need to be resolved about it, and actually sit down and pray. I say this because the majority of Catholics have no plan but they think they pray. Others start praying and sit down to watch what happens. When nothing happens, they blame God who is not listening and then they give up. All it takes is an inner transformation that Jesus, Jonah and Paul proclaim this Sunday with the question: “How is my spiritual health?” “Transforming of people one at a time is at the heart of God’s plan for the world.” God has incredible possibilities for you and I when we allow ourselves to be transformed by prayer. We can do this by simply setting a time daily to say a brief prayer first thing in the morning: “Lord Thank you for this day. Help me to be the best version of myself today as I start my day. Amen.” Say this prayer or a similar one daily and I guarantee you will see some change in your life. The take away message this Sunday is threefold: 1) The readings this Sunday proclaim an urgent appeal for conversion through the transforming power of prayer – the first sign of a dynamic Catholic. 2) God has incredible possibilities for you and I when we allow ourselves to be transformed by prayer. 3) All three readings underline conversion - spiritual transformation through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This Sacrament strengthens our resolve to be the best version of ourselves and thus become more effective witnesses of Jesus Christ.
©2018 John S. Mbinda