October 12, 2018
by Thomas Lenz
Creighton University's Department of Pharmacy
click here for photo and information about the writer

Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 465

Galatians 3:7-14
Psalms 111:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6
Luke 11:15-26

Praying Ordinary Time


When I first read Luke’s gospel reading, I was a bit confused. (I must admit, it took a few reads for me to understand Luke’s message.) But, after I let it soak in, I found his message sounding strangely familiar. Coincidently, I found a theme in Luke’s message that was very similar to a theme that I have been discussing this week with my Creighton University students. The theme was about belief and connectedness.

One of the classes that I am teaching this semester focuses on health and wellness, and in particular, working one-on-one with people who have chronic diseases in a coach-like manner. We started this week talking about the power of belief. The main point of our discussion centered on the enhanced success that a person can have with adopting a new positive behavior (e.g., eating more vegetables and fruit) if they believe that it will lead to a positive outcome (e.g., feeling better physically and mentally). It sounds obvious, but if we believe that something positive will happen due to our behavior, it more than likely will happen compared to believing that no change will occur. And, there is scientific evidence to support this notion.

The second topic we discussed this week focused on the power of connectedness and collective strength over that of individualism, with regards to health. Our discussions primarily centered on the notion that we as a people typically feel better when we have meaningful connections with one another compared to when we are isolated from others. The collective strength of the connections provides a synergistic power that is greater than the power that comes from the sum of the parts. This is especially true for emotional health and has also been scientifically proven.

After thinking about Luke’s writings for a while, I drew an immediate connection to the message. In the gospel story, Jesus drove out a demon and was being questioned by the witnesses. At one point he says to the crowd, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” It feels like Jesus is speaking about the power of being connected with him and with each other. Together, our strength is more powerful than any demon (whether that demon be Satan himself, our negative self-talk, or the lifestyle behavior we wish we could change). If we put our belief in God and each other, we will conquer the demons compared to if we only try to resolve our issues individually. The belief in God, the belief in our positive direction, and our belief in moving forward as a collective group brings us closer to God because of the power of connectedness and the power of belief.

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