Monday, July 07, 2014

He Took Her by the Hand

I will espouse you to me forever: I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy; I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the LORD.  Hosea 2:21-22

While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward, knelt down before him, and said, “My daughter has just died.  But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.”  Matthew 9:18

Father, the sacraments are very dependent upon our senses.  The waters of Baptism wash us.  The bread of Eucharist nourishes us.  The words of Penance heal us.  The exchange of vows join us.  The oils of confirmation anoint us with your healing touch. May we accept these signs in our lives and reach out to others to touch them with your love and kindness. 

The relationship with the Lord is not some distant, remote subject of worship.  Hosea changes the tone of prophetic writing by building the relationship as one of husband and wife, not master to slave or monarch to subjects.  This analogy is carried into throughout the New Testament in John (where Jesus performs his first sign at the wedding in Cana) and in the synoptic Gospels with the analogy of Jesus as bridegroom. It reaches it crescendo in John when Jesus calls us “Friend.”

Instead of there being a remote God to whom we cannot even utter his name (as the Jewish people did not talk of “Yahweh”), ours is a personal God-seeking relationship.  Just like friends reach out to each other, today’s Good News is a reading of touching and being touched by the Roman official, his daughter or the woman who was bleeding.  The woman bleeding needed only to touch His cloak to be healed.  When Jesus prayed over the official’s daughter, he took her by the hand to cure her and bring her back to life. 

A God of Study can be academic and remote.  But the lessons we learn from our God of Study must be as close as a library book we open with our own hands and eyes.  A God of Piety can be mystical and distant. But the prayers we pray to our God of Piety must come from our heart and go to the Lord’s heart.  A God of Action can issues orders like a Master to a servant.  However, the deeds we do for our God of Action has to get our hands dirty as we reach out where the Lord can no longer act.  A God of Action has to be close enough to be touched by a Doubting Thomas, to have his feet anointed by the oils of Mary, and to serve the eternal banquet hand-to-hand with his closest friends or five thousand people needing the loaves and fishes. 

Whom will you touch today?  Will you reach out to someone who would normally repulse you – like the man or woman begging outside the Metro station, bus stop or office building?  

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