[Today’s second reading in the Office of Readings prompts me to re-share the following post.]
Bet you have had a similar experience. You are reading a passage from Scripture – one that you have read many times in the past. Suddenly from the page leaps an insight that had heretofore escaped your grasp.
I had just such an experience early Monday morning when I filled in for an Adorer who was stranded some distance from our Chapel due to a significant snow storm.
Let me set forth the familiar words of Mark’s Gospel (Mk 6:53-56) that prompts this post and reflection:
“After making the crossing to the other side of the sea,
Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret
and tied up there.
As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him.
They scurried about the surrounding country
and began to bring in the sick on mats
to wherever they heard he was.
Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered,
they laid the sick in the marketplaces
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak;
and as many as touched it were healed.”
(From the Revised Standard Version, emphasis added)
The great tragedy of our times is the fact that so few Catholics believe that Jesus is really, truly and substantially present here with us in the Most Blessed Sacrament, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity – the same Jesus the people in Mark’s Gospel immediately recognized and approached with expectant faith.
Why don’t we recognize Him here in our midst? Why don’t we scurry around our communities and gather the sick and present them to Him? Why do we lack the expectant faith of those depicted in Mark’s Gospel?
No doubt there are multiple explanations that could be offered in response to these questions. But the fundamental answer is that we are too proud!
We have made things unnecessarily complicated. We have added expectations and hoops to jump through that our loving Lord never intended when He decided to remain among us until the end of time.
Like Naaman, the Syrian army commander and leper who initially out of pride thwarted God’s desire to heal him of his leprosy by refusing to wash in the Jordan seven times as the prophet Elisha’s messenger had directed him to do (see 2 Kings 5:1-19), we refuse to recognize that the same Jesus described in Mark’s Gospel remains physically here with us in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
He waits there for our visit and our adoration. That’s all. In exchange for that act of love, gratitude and faith, He will heal us, the ones we love and those for whom we intercede, maybe not in the exact manner which we request, but in the most perfect way – the way that will assure eternal life for us and those for whom we pray.
Don’t be like Naaman and refuse to take a dip in the Jordan. It really is simple. Scurry to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament where He awaits you with loving and healing arms. Go there expecting to be healed.
And please do not forget to bring those others also in need of His healing touch with you, if not physically than in your heart.