MEMORIAL OF SAINTS CYRIL, MONK, AND METHODIUS, BISHOP

February 14, 2020

1 Kings 11:29-32, 12:19

 

About that time, when Jeroboam was leaving Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him on the road. Ahijah had clothed himself with a new garment. The two of them were alone in the open country when Ahijah laid hold of the new garment he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. He then said to Jeroboam: Take for yourself ten pieces; for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “See, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon, and will give you ten tribes. One tribe will remain his, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city that I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.

So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

 

 

Psalm 81:9 -10ab, 11-14

 

There shall be no strange god among you;
    you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
 I am the Lord your God,
    who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.

 “But my people did not listen to my voice;
    Israel would not submit to me.
 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
    to follow their own counsels.
 O that my people would listen to me,
    that Israel would walk in my ways!
Then I would quickly subdue their enemies,
    and turn my hand against their foes.

 

 

Mark 7:31-37

 

Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

(NRSVCE)
 

 

Meditation

 

The Lord always fulfills His word. In the readings from Kings over the past few days, we see how God raised up Solomon but Solomon turned away from God and worshipped idols. Because of this, God had to correct Solomon by removing power from his line for a time. That word from the Lord is brought to fulfillment in today's reading where we read about Ahijah tearing his cloak and Israel going into rebellion. But, even though Solomon's sins brought down that destruction, God also kept His word to use the line of David to bring forth the Messiah into the world. In the gospel reading today, Jesus fulfills the prophecies about Him in how he heals the man. 

 

When Solomon turned away from God, it could have been tempting to think that God's plan to bring redemption through their family line was forfeited. But while God gives us free will, He also holds all power. He never exercises that power against us to force our will, but just because we step out from under the umbrella of His plan doesn't mean that He won't still fulfill His purposes. God will always offer salvation, healing, and closeness with Him, but it is up to us to choose whether or not we will receive from Him and participate in His plans.

 

Our earthly circumstances can look grim. Similar to Israel going into rebellion, we may be facing disappointment in other person's choices. Or like the blind man not being able to care for himself, we may be suffering with physical ailments, or feel powerless in some other way. In those times it can be hard to trust God's promises. But God is still God and He will keep His word. 

 

Today we can choose to be like Solomon and dismiss the word of the Lord, or be like the blind man and let ourselves be open to receiving Jesus. Consider what the Lord has promised you and ask honestly if you are struggling to believe that promise. If so, ask the Lord to increase your faith. Even if other people turn away from God, trust in Him, and don't lose heart. 

 

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