Monday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)
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. …[T]hey laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak…
Only the tassel on his cloak. Some religious people claim that Catholics worship statues and commit idolatry. They don’t. They simply have an appreciation for the five senses God has given them.
From the very beginning, the Lord permitted people to touch him and be cured by him, even if it meant simply touching his tassel. How can we forget the young woman who touched the cloak of the Lord and was immediately cured; and still more, was unaware of who had touched him?
What does this all mean?
And as many as touched it were healed. The touching of the tassel and the power emitted by it shows to what extent the Lord is willing to help us. He wants to help us. He wants to be a part of our story.
Do you want to be helped? Then allow your faith to challenge you. Reach out to the Lord. If it helps, then touch his image. Kiss his picture. Embrace a statue of him. Allow your senses to get closer to the Lord. There is nothing wrong with that.
I think we have become very sensitive to the criticisms of some Christians, especially when it comes to sacred images and objects.
Catholics do not adore them. They venerate them. There is a difference. Look it up. There is no shame in a mom or dad kissing a picture of their beloved son. There is no shame in a girlfriend or boyfriend hugging a letter written by their loved one. Go ahead. It will do your mind, body and soul a lot of good.
We are not angels. We are humans. We need to see, touch, hear, taste and smell the goodness of the Lord. We need to get outside and see the great outdoors. We need to speak face-to-face with the Lord. We need to place our hand on His face. Go ahead. It’s okay.
We, humans, think we are great because we do so many things indoors. We think we are so clever because we created the Internet and cable TV. We think we are so smart because we have smartphones. But did you know there are over 70 million Americans taking mind altering drugs? Why? Good question! Maybe, just maybe, it’s because they are not going outside enough, and are spending too much of their time in the world they have created and not enough in the world God has created. They are not touching, hearing, seeing, tasting and smelling the goodness of the Lord.
The tassel is the beginning of this story. It is not the end of it. Power did not come from the tassel but from the one who wore it. But it would be a mistake to think the tassel was inconsequential. It was not. It is part of our story. We need to touch, to see, and to hear just as much as we need to believe and to love.
Lord, open my eyes to your Word. Open the eyes of my heart to do your Will.
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