Friday, February 12, 2010

Couldn't I Just Touch Your Tassel?


Today's Gospel reading is a good one!

St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus and one of the great spiritual masters of our Church, has a really excellent way to pray with Scripture that anyone can do. He says when you are going to pray and you are want to meditate on a passage; use your imagination. Throw yourself in the story. You can be a character in the story or someone just walking by. Really try to imagine the story. What do you see? What are people wearing? What do you smell? What does Jesus look like? Talk to him and see what he has to say to you. When you are done think about what just happened in your prayer and how you felt. Talk to God about it.

This is a VERY brief introduction to this kind of prayer. Here is a better explanation by Ryan Duns SJ. I can say for myself I do enjoy this kind of prayer. It is usually a rich experience and can help you to make the story come alive. I hope you try it one day!

Today's Gospel is great one to imagine! Jesus heals a deaf man who also has a speech impediment. It is a funny way to see Jesus healing someone; well at least I think so.

Mk 7:31-37
Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”)
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
“He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ!

Scripture speaks to all of us differently. This is such a rich story. One person can hear or read this story and here many different messages that God might be trying to tell them. For example:

1) "And the people brought to him a deaf man..." How many people have helped to bring us to Jesus? How many people have prayed for us and continue to pray for us so that we can know Jesus and the peace he gives us? Who do I bring to Jesus? Who do I pray for that they may know how much God loves them?

2) "a deaf man..." How much do I listen to others? Do people come to me knowing that I will listen to them? Do I listen to my heart? Do I hear God's voice in my life? Do I follow God's voice when I hear Him calling? Do I turn a deaf ear to those in need? The homeless? My family? My friends? My Children?

3) "a speech impediment..." Do I pray? Do I speak to God and give him thanks? Am I ashamed to talk about God to others? Do I hold my tongue when people close to me are doing things which will hurt themselves or other? Do I speak and stand up for what is right?

4) "He took him away from the crowd..." Do I make time for God? How often do I pray? Do I pray sincerely with an open heart? Am I willingly to separate from others in order to be closer to God?

5) "He put his finger into the man's ear..." Do I know where I need to be healed? Am I willing to let God show me? Am I willing to let God heal me on His terms not just the way I want? Can I let go and trust in Jesus even though I might not see how what is going on in my life is for the best?

6) "The man's ears were open..." Do I thank God for the healing he has done for me? Do I thank others for helping me be healed? Do I look at life with a grateful perspective?

Scripture speaks to all of us differently. Ironically for me what came out of prayer was something I needed to hear, which wasn't on that list.

My dad turned 70 this year and we had a 70's themed party for him. Here is a pic:

Me, my Dad, my Mom, and my cousin Lenora.

My dad always feels the need, when he is driving, to stick his finger in the ear of the person on the passenger side. That person could be me, or my brother, or my mom, pretty much anyone in that seat (if you ever come with us for a ride sit in the back or wear ear muffs). There is a great Turkish saying, "You will find a pear under a pear tree." Meaning like father, like son, I do that to EVERYONE. No one is safe from my wrath not my mom, my brother, my friends, my nieces, my nephews or my cousins. Sometimes I mighty pair it off with sticking my finger in that same person's nose so watch out!

The Gospel today really reminded me of my dad. That is a way that he shows you that he loves you. It is funny, it makes you laugh because you do not expect it. It is such a playful thing to do to someone especially to little kids because they don't know what to make of it. For me it is a sign of loving someone. So when I read this gospel passage it shows me how loving Jesus is. Whether he meant it to be funny or not I can tell you that the "Man-formerly-known-as-deaf" will never forget it. He will never forget God's mercy. He will never forget that the first thing he heard, after he was healed, was the voice of the Savior. He had an experience of Jesus that changed his life. He will never forget Jesus' smile as he stuck his Sacred finger in the man's ear. Or Jesus' smile after healing him.

There's a story of a woman touching Jesus' tassel from his cloak and she was healed. I named this post "Couldn't I Just Touch Your Tassel?" but I probably should have named it "Jesus You Think You're Soooo Funny!"

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