Welcome to our virtual book club! We're reading Fr. James Martin’s bestseller, Jesus: A Pilgrimage. Each week we will tackle a chapter and look forward to a lively discussion together.

Jesus book conversation

I don't think I'm alone when I admit that I have a bit of an immediately addiction. Isn't that the beauty of communication nowadays?

You're only an email, a text, a direct message, or, if you're really lucky, a phone call away from...everyone. And yet...

Who is God to us? One answer is compassion, forgiveness, and mercy, even when we feel we deserve them the least.

Jesus's healing of the man in the synagogue was immediate. Our own healings, however, usually don't happen euthus. And this is a source of sadness for many of us. We desperately long for something as instantaneous as what Jesus offered to the man. And I'm not talking simply about physical healings.

...moving away from deeply rooted tendencies is a long process that takes work and requires patience. Conversion takes time. Most of all, you must trust that God wants you to change every bit as much as Jesus wanted to help the man in the synagogue.

Our journey with Fr. Martin this week take us to Capernaum and to the synagogue where Jesus heals the man with the unclean spirit (see Mark 1:21-28). While Fr. Martin didn't see the actual synagogue, this chapter considers the miracle in depth.

Throughout it, I couldn't seem to get past the chapter title and its implication. In a world of immediately this and immediately that, I sure do take my time with God, don't I?

People assume I'm passionate about my faith because of the secret sauce of my being a convert to Catholicism. But we're all converts.

And, as Fr. Martin points out, conversion takes time. It's not a one-time event, but a "slow, deliberate, and mysterious" process, which he compares to "a tree changing colors in the fall." "And often you can't see the change in yourself," he writes, as though he were writing it just for me.

Ask Sarah-from-2001 how she felt about...oh, pick a topic. Maybe writing professionally? Motherhood? Marriage? Her answers, I assure you, would be far different that Sarah-from-2014. I credit the ongoing conversion since my baptism and confirmation for that change (which has been for the better, in case you're wondering).

Immediately is, at times, a perspective, isn't it? It depends on where you're standing. People who knew me in college might think I've changed immediately (they haven't seen me for 20 years). Those who live with me long for me to improve immediately.

To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:

  1. How is God calling you to immediate conversion? What's standing in your way?
  2. Name three ways you can look back over the last three months and see God at work. Pause to pray in thanksgiving for what he has brought to your life (even if it doesn't feel like it's a blessing).
  3. Who is God to you? Who is he trying to be to you? How can you reconcile the difference in those answers?

Feel free to comment on your own thoughts from this week's reading, your impressions and reflections, and/or your answers to these questions.

Next week, we'll cover Chapter 9: Gennesaret. For the complete reading schedule and information about our Book Club, visit the Jesus Book Club page.

Copyright 2014 Sarah Reinhard