August 31, 2011
Wednesday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
By Colleen O'Sullivan
I will thank you always for what you have done, and proclaim the goodness of your name before your faithful ones. (Psalm 52:11)
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… 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. (Luke 4:38-40, 42-44)
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
(from a prayer by St. Teresa of Avila)
A couple of years ago, a co-worker was online trying to decide which cell phone to purchase. She got me to look at the Internet ads with her. I laughed, because one company was trying to entice would-be buyers by advertising “It’s all about you.” I said, “It’s a good thing the teenage girls in our families aren’t looking at this. They’d be hooked!” We live in a me-centered culture, where we are fed messages 24/7 that “it’s all about us” and that everything centers around us and our desires.
Sometimes we even carry that attitude over into our faith lives. One of my friends told me recently that she stopped going to church. She said she doesn’t need to worship with others, because, after all, it’s really just about Jesus and her. She said he’s her personal Savior and that’s all she needs. No concept of what it means to be part of the Body of Christ in the world. No recollection that the two greatest commandments are about showing love to our neighbors as well as loving God above all else.
The main problem with my friend’s stance is it doesn’t jive with the Scriptures. Nowhere in the Gospels does it say it’s all about us or that we get to hoard Jesus all to ourselves. In fact, when the villagers in today’s reading from Luke’s Gospel try to keep Jesus from leaving and going on to other towns, he tells them that he was expressly sent to proclaim the Kingdom of God and he has to keep on going and preach the Good News to as many people as possible.
When Jesus touches your life, you don’t get to hold the experience to yourself and just bask in the glow. In the beginning of today’s Gospel passage, Jesus goes to Simon’s house, where his mother-in-law is very sick with a high fever. He heals her, but she doesn’t then lie in bed savoring the experience. Jesus has touched her and, in so doing, has empowered her to serve in his name. She gets up from her sickbed and has the well-being and vitality to serve the Lord and her other guests.
The psalmist shows us the paradigm for life: “I will thank you always for what you have done, and proclaim the goodness of your name before your faithful ones.” God touches our lives in many wonderful ways and we, in turn, are to proclaim the goodness of his name to our our brothers and sisters.