At Eden, Man chose to abuse his freedom, distrusting God and seeking to “be like God” (cf. Gen 3:5). Since then, Man has suffered under the effects of Original Sin (CCC 396-409), which includes the embrace of personal sin and lives full of pain, illness, emotional suffering and death.
Humans have sought to alleviate suffering through modern medical advances to treat mental and physical illnesses. Modern psychology and psychiatry seek to treat mental illness with cognitive behavioral therapy and various medicines. Modern physical medicine has made great advances in treating all kinds of bodily illness through diagnostic technology, scientific treatment protocols, pharmaceuticals and surgical procedures.
Man’s Feeble Power
Since the fall of Man in Eden, men have pursued power to fulfill selfish desires. “Power” comes from the Latin, potis, meaning, “to be able” and “strength, vigor and control”. Men seek power to in an attempt to control other men (political, economic), natural resources (land, resources) and even life itself (longevity, health). Through the acquisition and use of power, men hope to increase physical pleasure (wealth, possessions, sensual, sexual) and emotional/mental pleasure (enjoyment, pride, greed, lust).
Man’s pursuit of power is futile for it does not lead to lasting happiness due to Original Sin. Modern Man has gained some control over nature (agriculture, weather, nuclear science, manufacturing), human life (genetics, medical technology) and over the pursuit of happiness (psychology, philosophy, communications and media). But Man’s growing power through advancements in science/technology has not made Man happy. Man’s power is feeble, for it offers only the emptiness in possessions, the discomfort of conflict/war, the temporary indulgence of selfish desire and can not avoid the finality of death. Man’s futile grasping for power does not bring lasting peace and joy.
Awed by the Power of Jesus Christ
In contrast to the feebleness of human power, Jesus Christ possesses both the highest human powers and Divine Power. Jesus is given all power and authority over heaven and earth by the Father (Matt 28:18; John 5:19-29) and sits at the “right hand of Power” (Mark 14:62). Christ is born without Sin (John 8:46; 1 Pet 2:22), calls Yahweh, “Father” (John 2:16) and has the authority to offer completely new interpretations of the 1300 year-old Law (Matt 5:17-19), the Sabbath (Matt 12:8) and the Temple (John 4:21). Christ forgives sins (Mark 2:5) and offers lasting peace and joy (John 14:27; CCC 736). Despite His awesome power, Jesus Christ is humble (Matt 11:29) and refuses to take earthly political power (John 6:15).
Many in the New Testament are awed by the power of Jesus Christ. Herod (Matt 2:13) and Pilate (John 19:8) are intimidated by Jesus. Wise men “fall down and worship Him” (Matt 2:11). Demons fear him (Matt 8:29). The Jewish leadership is afraid of Jesus (Mark 11:18) and amazed (Matt 22:22). Roman guards and temple guards “draw back and fall to the ground” at Gethsemane (John 18:6). The crowds and disciples are “filled with awe” (Mark 4:41), “astonished” (Luke 5:9), “amazed” (Mark 10:24), “utterly astounded” (Mark 6:51) and are “exceedingly afraid” (Luke 9:34).
The Power of Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ manifests His power in astounding ways:
Has the power of Creation – Present at Creation, Jesus Christ shares in the absolute power of the Father (John 1:1-5).
Has immense physical power – Jesus Christ endures 40 days in the desert without eating (Luke 4:2). Jesus lives a physically demanding life as a first century carpenter and as itinerant preacher; one source suggests Jesus traveled almost the circumference of the earth; 25,000 miles.
Has a powerful personal presence – People are awed by the personal presence of Jesus. His presence attracts: Wise men (Matt 2:1), disciples (Matt 4:18-22) and crowds (Matt 4:25). His Divine nature shines through His human nature in His personality and physical appearance (His body, face, and particularly His gaze (Luke 6:20; Mark 3:5)). Jesus confronts the merchants and moneychangers and single-handedly clears the massive (35 acres) temple area (John 2:15).
Has the power to avoid physical coercion – Jesus mysteriously is able to avoid angry crowds who seek to control or kill him (Matt 12:15, Luke 4:30, John 6:15).
Has great healing power – Jesus Christ demonstrates His dominion by healing all maladies including those of the skin (Mark 1:40-45), bones (Luke 6:6-11; 13:10-17), nervous system (Luke 9:37-42), internal organs (Mark 5:24-34), the eyes (Matt 9:27-31) the ears (Mark 7:31-37), the tongue (Matt 9:32-34) and a severed ear (Luke 22:47-53). This power is palpable and real and radiates from Him (Luke 6:19; 8:44).
Has power over nature/Creation – Jesus demonstrates astounding power over nature including weather (Matt 8:26), the sea (Mark 6:48), light and darkness (Matt 17:2; Luke 23:44), earthquakes (Matt 27:51), creatures (Mark 5:1-11), material objects (Matt 17:24-27) and has the ability to multiply loaves and fishes (Mark 6:32-44). He is mysteriously transformed in the Transfiguration (Matt 17:2).
Has power over death – Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:40-56) and Lazarus (John 11:44) from the dead. Jesus raises Himself from death at the Resurrection (Mark 16:6).
Has the power to summon angels and the dead – Angels minister to Him at the Temptation (Mark 1:12-13), Gethsemane (Luke 22:43) and respond to His call (Matt 26:53). Jesus summons Moses and Elijah (Luke 9:30).
Has transfer power disciples – Jesus grants power to His disciples (Matt 10:1, Luke 9:2) including the ability to forgive sins (John 20:22-23; CCC 976).
Has the power to respond to prayer – Jesus promises to answer prayers (John 14:13).
Has mysterious powers in His Glorified Body – After the Resurrection, Jesus is able to change His appearance (Luke 24:16), enter closed rooms (John 20:26) and ascend to heaven (Mark 16:19).
Can send the Holy Spirit – Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit before His Passion (John 14:26) and sends the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).
Has the power of the Real Presence – Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist at every single Mass: “the whole Christ is truly, really and substantially contained [in the Eucharist]” (CCC 1374).
Has the power of Salvation – Granted by the Father, Jesus Christ has the power to forgive sins against God (Mark 2:5) save all who believe in Him (John 11:25). Has the power to mediate between God and man (John 14:6) and will judge each person by their “works and hearts” (John 5:22; CCC 679).
Today’s Gospel from the Mass (Mark 6:53-56) offers a somewhat strange, perhaps confusing demonstration of the awesome power of Christ:
 And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennes’aret, and moored to the shore.  And when they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized him,  and ran about the whole neighborhood and began to bring sick people on their pallets to any place where they heard he was.  And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or country, they laid the sick in the market places, and besought him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment; and as many as touched it were made well.
There are several astounding things in the Gospel, regarding Jesus’ power: (more…)
Over the past several days, Christ’s immense power has been the focus of the posts. Today’s Gospel from the Mass (Mark 5:21-43) offers an insight to the love and tenderness of Our Lord. (more…)
 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand.  And they watched him, to see whether he would heal him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him.  And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come here.”  And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent.  And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.  The Pharisees went out, and immediately held counsel with the Hero’di-ans against him, how to destroy him.
The events in the Gospels can sometimes lose their impact on our busy minds. (more…)
Today’s Gospel from the Mass (Mark 2:1-12) offers a demonstration of the absolutely awe-inspiring way that Jesus deals with the evil/misguided enemies who seek to discredit Him:
And when he returned to Caper’na-um after some days, it was reported that he was at home.  And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and he was preaching the word to them.  And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.  And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay.  And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.”  Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts,  “Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”  And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question thus in your hearts?  Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, `Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, `Rise, take up your pallet and walk’?  But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he said to the paralytic —  “I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.”  And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
To understand a little more of this incredible show down with the religious enemies of Jesus, consider: (more…)
Today’s Gospel from the Mass (Mark 1:29-39) describes yet another healing miracle by Jesus Christ:
 Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told him of her.  And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them.
As always, we should accept what is presented to us in the Gospel, understand it and attempt to personalize it (more…)
In today’s Gospel from the Mass (Luke 5:12-16), there is an astounding account of one of the times that Jesus heals a Leper (warning, at the bottom of this post is an image of leprosy). From the Gospel of Luke:
 While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and besought him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”  And he stretched out his hand, and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him.  And he charged him to tell no one; but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.”  But so much the more the report went abroad concerning him; and great multitudes gathered to hear and to be healed of their infirmities.  But he withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.
The actions of Jesus are absolutely astounding for a number of reasons: (more…)