JESUS WAS AMAZED
When Jesus had finished all his words to the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die, and he was valuable to him. When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and save the life of his slave. They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying, “He deserves to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.”
And Jesus went with them, but when he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” When the messengers returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.
LK 7: 1-10
Just a few weeks ago I heard this gospel passage proclaimed at mass. Of course, I’d heard the story many times before. But on this particular day, I was given the grace to have the words go past my head and into to my heart. In fact, it would be more accurate to say that felt the gospel that day rather than heard it. I was able to not simply understand, but to experience why Jesus was amazed.
This centurion gave us one of the greatest examples of faith (not to mention humility) in all of scripture. And you know what? If this pagan was able to amaze Jesus with his act of faith, you and I can do that too. So, if you haven’t already done so, today (notice that’s TODAY, not tomorrow) set aside five minutes of your time. Use that time to really think and pray about what one act of faith you can make during this 40-day period, perhaps by taking on some sort of prayer or fasting that you’ve never dared to attempt before, which will truly amaze Jesus. And then, trusting that He will give you the strength to accomplish it…do it!
AND NOW, OUR REPORTS FROM THE SIDEWALK:
The first Saturday morning shift started started in the dark with Tom and Diane dropping off the signs and materials and the arrival of the first part of a large group from St Anne’s. As the sun rose DOZENS of the faithful came to pray. Many were from St Anne’s and Fr Tim brought the his large group of Guardians For Life. Prayer and song rang out. The Saturday regulars of Bill and Bill and the sidewalk advocates were positioned around the perimeter. We were blessed to have the mobile sonogram from Choices Pregnancy Services staffed by Betsy and Jill.
While the Planned Parenthood escorts were out on both sides and across the street, they weren’t very busy. One couple came and parked across the street, got out of the car, and stood for a long time talking. Then they got back in their car and drove away. Maybe we made a difference today and saved a baby?
Tim B., 7-9
As I saw that Tim B said it was not very busy on the early shift, the same cannot be said about the 9 am to 11 am shift. The Sidewalk Advocates had to have their eyes and ears open. The PP escorts certainly did. They of course are notified when someone is coming along so that they can form a circle around their prey. I can only liken their behavior when they do that as cancerous organisms surrounding weak cells so they can go in for the kill.
The sidewalk was also busy with many representatives from a variety of churches who come for their twice annual pray hours. Many do more outside of this time for life and we are grateful. St. Anne’s Parish from Castle Shannon was there, so the parishioners shared about Kurt Kondrich who will talk about Chloe’s Law.
Elsie, 15, and Claire, 14, have the advantage of youth in their witness! They come with Brian and Lisa who have young faces to influence the younger generation walking past. Our faithful Jericho walkers who come year-round came today – a powerful 85-year-old man and Mrs. S., better known as Adam’s mom! Ken who joins us on Saturdays, even off campaign, prayed today. The Emmaus Brothers came as well. Peter, a member of the Emmaus Brothers, actually counsels at one of the pregnancy resource centers. The Emmaus Brothers’ mission is to break men’s heart open. Seminarians from St. Vincent’s Seminary in Latrobe helped distribute information.
Maryanne came today for the first time. Tim, her husband, has been praying with 40 Days for Life for 3 years. Tim will be a Grand Knight this year for the Knights of Columbus and has his work cut out for him. Robert, who stops by to pray and receive support, told me that his sister, a native Pittsburgher wrote a book titled Not Off the Hook at 491 about forgiveness. (How often should we forgive?)
One young woman walked up and asked if she could interview me. She has spoken with Sue just previously. She did not have credentials nor would she give me her last name. I did not give permission because she was not forthcoming with credentials not would she share her last name. I asked why she chose us and what her stance on life is. She told me the story is controversial and she is pro-choice. We talked briefly about the baby models since we were standing right in front of them. I gave her a 40 Days for Life brochure and told her my full name after I interviewed her.
Another young woman came out of black car, with totally black windows, to go into PP. She stopped briefly to listen. She did not stay in PP very long. I think this young woman missed an escape route God offered her today. She got back into that black car with totally black windows.
The folks from Cultural Impact Ministries made sure that almost everyone who entered or exited PP left with some pregnancy support material. Most of the people passing by were receptive to our material as well.
Holy Trinity from Robinson sent prayer warriors as my shift began. They told me they would pray intensely the whole time. They did !😀 5 women started and were joined by others as shift progressed.
Prayers were answered :
1. Numerous passerbys took resource cards and roses were given to passer-bys.
2. 2 young men said they would return to pray with us.
3. Charles stopped to talk and share with the prayer warrior. When I sensed he was interrupted the prayers, I invited him to my side of circle to share. I attempted to take his eyes off of Lucifer and focus on moving forward with Jesus. (Using Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus) Good discussion ended as I was greeted by Joe, the next shift manager.
Kathy K., 3-5
Glad to be back on the sidewalk again. Sharon, Jim & Kathy (Holy Trinty parish ) were well organized, disciplined, and loving. Yinz prayerful witness was much needed medicine for my soul.
Your Brother in Christ,