Sunday, July 1, 2012


So now I am back in harness. I am back to my own room(s) and my own community. What did I learn on retreat? The value of silence, of being quiet in the Presence of the Lord, above all in the Blessed Sacrament. I learnt the value of 'wasting time' with God. The task is to keep it up.

Today we had the Gospel of Jairus with the option of reading the longer text with the woman with a haemorrhage. This Gospel text is really a duet. Jairus, desperate for the life of his daughter, comes to Jesus to do his 'magic' by laying his hand on the girl. In the middle of the crowd the woman, desperate for healing, reaches out to Jesus and through her touch declares her faith in Him. This is dangerous for her. Her bleeding renders her unclean and she consequently defiles those she touches. Jesus, though, knows those who reach out and touch with Him faith and those who merely touch. In response to her testimony He confirms her healing.

This is a lesson for Jairus and for us. Touching Jesus and being touched by Him is no small thing. For Jews the closest one got to God was at Jerusalem, in the Temple. Even then only the High Priest, once a year, got to approach and enter the Holy of Holies. Here is He who makes holy. He is surrounded, jostled and unrecognised, unacknowledged. Here He is, open to faith but not just to desperation and He works a miracle in response to Jairus' growing faith.

We too get to approach and touch Jesus. Through Baptism and Confirmation we are the Body of Christ, His presence in the world. We get to receive Him at Mass in the Blessed Sacrament. How have we used our hands, our tongues in the last twenty-four hours? Do we approach Him in faith or in desperation or worse with indifference, obeying the impulse of habit or duty?

We receive Him and He expects us to carry Him to those who do not. He expects us to reach out and touch those in our society who are hurting or lost and bring His healing to them. We are to be His hands, His touch, His voice in the world. We are to say to those who are broken, "Arise!" "Arise, O sleeper, arise from the dead and Christ our light will shine on you!"

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