Chapter 8: Immediately {Jesus: A Pilgrimage}


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


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  1. Question 1: Immediate conversion to me is eliminating procrastination and excuses I so easily allow in my life. These joy busters keep me from fully enjoying God’s plan and purpose each day. I somehow believe there are more important things to do than stay focused on my Jesus. Silly human. Conversion in my being has been a process. My goal is to be different today than yesterday by being fully surrendered to God. If I’m not being transformed in thoughts, motivations and actions, I am procrastinating and allowing excuses to infiltrate daily living. I am in no way putting pressure on myself to be perfect. Only God is perfect. I just want to be a better version of the me He created me to be each day. In that place, I know I honor the Trinity. That is fullness of life to me! I am still pondering the other two questions.

  2. That the Greek word for astounded might be translated as “struck with panic” strikes me–we might be struck with panic because the teaching of Jesus expects us to actually do something to change. We are settled comfortably into our own pattern of life–change? who me?

    Another bit of the description here reminds me of a dear friend whose health was fragile all her life, which she lived in a wheelchair. I knew her the last few years of her life, most of one of which she spent in the hospital. At her memorial service, a man who had been her supervisor when she was working described her wheelchair rushing here and there to various tasks. “Grace, why are you in such a rush?” he had asked her. Her answer was that she had a limited life expectancy, and she had a lot to accomplish. She had such an awareness of immediacy.

    I like the possibility of Jesus speaking to the demon in the calm, peaceful voice that I would like to imagine of him. IN searching for the immediate solution, we need that calm.

  3. There’s going to be a four day Missionary retreat in October. In which if your going to be called to serve, the committy calls from a No Caller ID number. They call you three times on different days and never leave a message. If you don’t answer they move on to the next caller. Today my phone rang and as I looked from whom the call was I froze. I didn’t answer the phone. Please don’t get me wrong I would love to serve this retreat more than anything. My first reaction was to answer immediately but remembered the first time I was called to serve in May. I was going to mass and our meetings right after for 8 weeks to prepare us for this retreat but a week before the final meeting my son had a psychotic episode and I had to admit him into the hospital. I had to withdraw myself from this retreat. It was a very hard time. My son is doing a lot better and taking medicine. I thank God everyday on how our family has been more united in him because of this event. We are truly blessed. As the phone rang it just brought to many thoughts and emotions that I froze. It made me feel sick to my stomach after the phone stopped ringing as if I’m saying not yet Lord I’m not ready. I will continue to pray for healing and to allow me to put my complete trust in him. I thought I did but I’m realizing I fall short.

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