For many book lovers, the hazy days of late summer and early fall bring the possibility of time spent relaxing with a good read. The dilemma arises: what to choose?
A self-confessed bibliophile, I am blessed to have many friends whose souls and characters are enriched by being book lovers as well. They come from all walks of life: priests, consecrated, lay Catholics, and other friends who have excellent taste in literature.
Reading can be more than an intellectual or entertaining pursuit. Good books of all genres are like mirrors held up to our souls and minds, helping us to understand ourselves, others and the world more deeply.
Wednesday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon. Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her. He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them. At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them. And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ. At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place. The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for coming into my house. I am honored that you wish to stop by even when I don’t call for you. I am extremely grateful for the personal attention that you give me, especially when I am ill and in need of your grace.
Petition: Lord, cure me of my spiritual ailments so I may serve you in others.
Christ Raises Us Up: There is a certain matter-of-factness about the cure in this Gospel passage: no special words of Jesus, no words of thanks, no reaction of the people. It is as if Jesus simply and routinely entered a home and helped a very sick woman up and out of bed. Not your typical miracle that draws a lot of attention. While we hope for that long-awaited miracle in our lives, we might be overlooking one of these very ordinary cures that Christ often offers us. In the spiritual realm, it may be a good confession, receiving him in the Eucharist, spiritual guidance, or a regular examination of conscience. In the physical realm, it may be just taking good care of my health by eating or sleeping properly. We don’t need to demand a special cure. Rather, we must be encouraged that Christ has directed his gaze towards us.
He Helps Us to Our Feet: Notice how quickly everything happens in today’s Gospel. Christ helps Simon’s mother-in-law to her feet immediately. She cooperates without skepticism or words of protest. She believes in Christ. His grace is effective. The cure is complete and instantaneous. He allows us to stand up on our own and resume our duties.
He Cures Us So That We Might Serve: We are very good about pleading to Christ for cures, yet frequently hassled when he sends us the “bill”—namely, that of serving others. Simon’s mother-in-law immediately begins to serve Christ, who has put her back on her feet. She immediately forgets about herself—her problems, how she feels, how much time her sickness has set her back—and instead focuses on the needs of others. Jesus raises up Christians from the death of sin and calls upon them to serve. Christians are risen people whose vocation is to serve.
Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, everybody is looking for you. You have put me back on my feet and have asked me to imitate your life of service. Help me to be generous with the life you have restored in me so that I too might put the interests of your Kingdom above my personal plans.
Resolution: I will earnestly ask Christ to cure me of my most dominant defect, taking one concrete step in acquiring its opposing virtue.
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Alex Kucera has lived in Atlanta, GA, for the last 46 years. He is one of 9 children, married to his wife Karmen, and has 3 girls, one grandson, and a granddaughter on the way. Alex joined Regnum Christi in 2007. Out of the gate, he joined the Helping Hands Medical Missions apostolate and is still participating today with the Ghana Friendship Mission.
In 2009, Alex was asked to be the Atlanta RC Renewal Coordinator for the Atlanta Locality to help the RC members with the RC renewal process. Alex became a Group Leader in 2012 for four of the Atlanta Men’s Section Teams and continues today. Running in parallel, in 2013, Alex became a Team Leader and shepherded a large team of good men.
Alex was honored to be the Atlanta Mission Coordinator between 2010 to 2022 (12 years), coordinating 5-8 Holy Week Mission teams across Georgia. He also created and coordinated missions at a parish in Athens, GA, for 9 years. Alex continues to coordinate Holy Week Missions, Advent Missions, and Monthly missions at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Cumming, GA.
From 2016 to 2022, Alex also served as the Men’s Section Assistant in Atlanta. He loved working with the Men’s Section Director, the Legionaries, Consecrated, and Women’s Section leadership teams.
Alex is exceptionally grateful to the Legionaries, Consecrated, and many RC members who he’s journeyed shoulder to shoulder, growing his relationship with Christ and others along the way. He knows that there is only one way, that’s Christ’s Way, with others!