Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 15.02.2023

GENESIS 8: 6 – 13, 20 – 22

At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made, and sent forth a raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; but the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put forth his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him. He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; and the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth a freshly plucked olive leaf, so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. Then he waited another seven days, and sent forth the dove; and she did not return to him anymore. In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the Lord smelled the pleasing odour, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

The Word of the Lord.

Psalm 116: 12 – 13, 14 – 15, 18 – 19 (R.) 17a

R/. A thanksgiving sacrifice I make to you, O Lord.

How can I repay the Lord
for all his goodness to me?
The cup of salvation I will raise;
I will call on the name of the Lord. R/.

My vows to the Lord I will fulfil
before all his people.
How precious in the eyes of the Lord
is the death of his faithful. R/.

My vows to the LORD I will fulfil
before all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst, O Jerusalem. R/.

Ephesians 1: 17 – 18

May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts that we might know what is the hope to which he has called us.

“He restored sight to the blind man and he saw everything clearly.”
MARK 8: 22 – 26

At that time: Jesus and the disciples came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man, and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the village; and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands upon him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see men; but they look like trees, walking.” Then again he laid his hands upon his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and saw everything clearly. And he sent him away to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

GOSPEL REFLECTION: God’s Almighty Power
February 15, 2023

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida, people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. (Mark 8:22–23)

Bethsaida was one of the towns just north of the Sea of Galilee in which Jesus preached. Later in His public ministry, Jesus condemns the town of Bethsaida for its failure to convert. “Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes” (Matthew 11:21).

It may be because of their lack of faith and immoral living that Jesus led the blind man outside of the city before He cured Him. And it appears that the people who brought the blind man to Jesus brought him not because of their deep faith, but because of curiosity. This might also be the reason that, once Jesus cured the man, He sent him to his home saying, “Do not even go into the village.” Thus, Jesus knew that this miracle would not lead to faith in the hearts of those living in Bethsaida. So, Jesus instructed the man not to return there.

God has almighty power and can clearly do whatever He chooses, whenever He chooses. And what He often chooses to do is to exercise His almighty power only in the presence of those who already believe, or at least in the presence of those who have not yet rejected Him. When Jesus encounters people who have heard Him preach but have failed to come to faith, He refuses to perform any miracles in their presence.

What this tells us is that faith must come first; then, God’s Almighty power flows freely. Of course, the grace of the Word of God is always given to everyone. The seed of God’s holy Word is always available to all. But it’s important to distinguish between the sending forth of His holy Word of the Gospel and the sending forth of His transforming almighty power. The only way to receive the latter is to first accept the former. Unless we hear, accept and believe in His Word, we will not receive the grace of His transforming power.

With that said, it must also be understood that God’s “almighty power” cannot be reduced to miracles alone. We all know that physical miracles are not nearly as prevalent today as they were at the time Jesus walked the earth. But His almighty power is still at work today; and in a way that is even greater than when Jesus walked the earth. Today, His power is one that transforms us interiorly by the fullness of grace and the bestowal of the Holy Spirit. That is the true miracle that we must always seek and anticipate when we have heard the Word of God and responded with authentic faith.

Reflect, today, upon your faith and your need for God’s transforming power in your life. Do you see faith alive within you? If so, then you will most certainly encounter the power of God in your life and the transformation given by the Holy Spirit. If you do not see this power of grace and interior transformation at work, then ponder the image of Jesus leading the blind man outside of the city to exercise his power. Seek first to have faith, because if you do, our Lord will be able to remain close to you and will do miracles within your soul.

All-powerful Lord, You choose to send forth Your almighty power upon those who have come to faith in You by receiving the Gospel You have sent forth. Please open my ears to hear so that I will choose to convert and believe and, thus, be disposed to be transformed by Your abundant grace. Jesus, I trust in You.

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