Thursday, November 24, 2016

Glorifying and Blessing

By Beth DeCristofaro

And now, bless the God of all, who has done wondrous things on earth (Sirach 50:22)

And one of (the lepers), realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. …  Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”  (Luke 17:15, 19)


What a day of thanksgiving!   Shall we put ourselves in the shoes (or imagine his bare feet) of the cured, thankful leper?  I have never faced quite such an exiling, painful, embarrassing, hopeless situation nor been extricated from it.  But tragedies have struck, been poor, found myself frighteningly lost and now I work with those who are ill and aging and those who have been given terminal diagnoses.  It’s hard to dance with gratitude when in dire straits or when ministering to someone who sees no way out of the prison of a crumbling body.

Jesus approaches the lepers, walking to Jerusalem.  He is walking, teaching, touching and healing even as he squarely faces his destruction.  He stops to help a human in pain crying out for help.  He lifts his face to his father in confident gratitude and love for the mission he accepted and for the life of this leper.  He stops, he cares, he cures.  His dance of grace continues to the cross and leaps out of the grave.  His dance of grace and kingship are danced today in the hearts of all who stop even in the face of pain, discouragement, hopelessness attempting to say, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”  Let us trust that His dance will sustain us even if our bodies fail and our state of affairs never improve.  Let us hear no matter what comes: “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”  

Today as I sit down to a full and delicious meal with my loved ones, may my spirit dance in gratitude and longing to walk ever closer with Jesus and more fully emulate his humble and embracing love which is farther reaching than any earthly comfort, remedy, request I can envision. As I continue walking to whatever Jerusalem is ahead in my life, may I walk in humility knowing that much of life is beyond my control but it is always prized by God.

The power of Christ the King, Pope Francis said, "is not power as defined by this world, but the love of God, a love capable of encountering and healing all things." … Following Christ the King also means accepting "the scandal of his humble love," which can be difficult because it "unsettles and disturbs us." Christ's love, the love Christians are called to imitate, is concrete and tangible and is not concerned with personal comfort, power, and superiority.[i]

The Year of Mercy has ended but we can keep those doors open in our own hearts.  To whom can we extend mercy today?  Am I experiencing “leprosy” in my life?  Where is Jesus in my pain and suffering?  Talk with Him, then listen in humble gratitude.

No comments: