Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mk 1:40-45 It's All About The Touch

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)


A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, "If you wish, you can make me clean."  Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, "I do will it.  Be made clean."

If you ever get a chance to go to Rome, then you must visit the Sistine Chapel and see Michelangelo's famous "touch of God."  What a masterpiece and insightful reminder of the difference between letting go of someone, and stretching out and touching someone.

The dullness of Leviticus.  Of course the book of Leviticus is inspired!  I won't deny that.  But it is also a very boring book.  It's chapters are filled with practical guidelines and not much else.  The book is as exciting as a math book or a legal document!

Hence, we should not be shocked that today's reading from the book of Leviticus is cold as ice:  If someone has on his skin a scab...which appears to be the sore of leprosy, he shall be brought to Aaron...  If the man is leprous and unclean, the priest shall declare him unclean... The one who bears the sore of leprosy...shall cry out, "Unclean, unclean!"  As long as the sore is on him he shall declare himself unclean, since he is in fact unclean.  He shall dwell apart, making his abode outside the camp.  

There it is!  A step-by-step and very realistic, rational and methodical, as well as practical and efficient solution for dealing with lepers.  The only things missing are the emotional upheaval (tears and fears) of the leper and the devastating impact on the family.

But what is really missing is what we call "the human touch."

Is this also not missing in far too many of our doctors, nurses and care givers?

Christ saw the problem and addressed it.

Christian care.  What I find most remarkable about today's Gospel passage is not so much the fact that Christ healed a leper, but the extraordinary step he took to do it:  He stretched out his hand and touched him.  Did He have to touch him?  Of course not...technically speaking!  After all, He's God.  He could have healed this poor man from thousands of miles away.  So why did He touch him?  Did Jesus want to show the world that He had no fear?  Was He trying to show off and tell the world that He has been "vaccinated" from all diseases or is above and beyond human diseases?  No.  Then why?

Because existence is more than just having what we need.  It's about knowing we are loved!

Christ (God) does not want to be known as the great Mechanic, or the great Organizer, or great Doctor or even the great Creator.  He wants to be known as...The Great LOVER!

God is a LOVER!  He loves to love!  And touching someone is as essential to human life as healing someone.

Are you known as a lover or as a fixer-picker-upper?

It's a matter of life and death.  Not too long ago, I celebrated a funeral Mass for a man.  As I was reading through what appeared to be a very well written and complete obituary, I was surprised by what I did not see.  There was no mention of him being a loving husband, father and friend.  I thought this may have been a simple oversight.  After all, the man had lived a very long life, received two college degrees, entered into military service and personally ran his own company.  Surely, this must have been a mess up. 

Well, it wasn't.  The obituary was complete. 

The man who had passed away was a good man, but he wasn't a very loving or affectionate man.  He had provided and protected his family, like many hard working husbands and fathers, but He didn't have the touch.   

God stretched out His hand and touched the leper.  He didn't have to, technically speaking, but He had to humanly and divinely speaking. 

Love touches.  It goes beyond the surface (skin deep) and penetrates the heart, mind, body and soul of our neighbor.  It heals the human condition: be it shame, guilt, stigma or whatever else the leper was experiencing at that time.  It relieves the damage caused by betrayal and abandonment.

Love (God) is neither mechanical nor chemical.  It follows no agreed upon formula; that is, when and where it should be applied.  We could love a song others hate and a man or woman others despise.  With love, it is possible to love the unlovable and forgive the unforgiveable.   

Love knows no boundaries other than one:  it must be authentic.  That is, of God.

The Word became flesh.  Most people enjoy reading the Gospels.  Very few people enjoy reading Leviticus.  Those who do are mostly scholars interested in ancient rituals and practices. 

Let's just come out and say it.  The difference between Leviticus and the Gospels is the touch, which is somewhat analogous to the difference between a documentary on the Titanic that is full of data, graphics and charts, and includes a step-by-step explanation on what happened and what went wrong; and the block buster hit movie "Titanic" - a love story about finding love and keeping it, even under the worst possible scenario.

Get the difference? 

But if we were to take it one step further, than we would have to say that the biggest difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament is how the Old remains written on paper while the New remains written in the hearts, minds, bodies and souls of the followers of Jesus Christ.

That's the touch!  Get it? 

Here's a beautiful example of the Holy Father reaching out to modern day "lepers."

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