The touch of Jesus

BY SR HILDEGARD RYAN OSB

Sunday, Sept 9th, 2012, is the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B.  

Lectio:  Read the Gospel text from Mark 7:31-37.

Read it slowly and reflectively, and maybe a second time.  Try to read aloud rather than with the mind.  Listen to the text as you read.

Meditatio:  What is it about?   Some background so that we can better understand the text and make our response to it.

This text is the fulfillment of what was predicted in the first reading from Isaiah:  Jesus makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.

The use of spittle was not unusual in the time of Jesus.  Spittle was thought to be medicinal.There is also the “touching” element.

Jesus touches, or takes a person by the hand, or lays hands on them.

The hand of God through the Old Testament always symbolised the power or might of God. The hands of Jesus touch, and power goes forth.

This Gospel text is straightforward – there is no need to complicate it.

Ponder over the text for some hours or days.  Different words, motifs, themes, images will come to you.  Stay with them.

Listen to the Holy Spirit playing like a harpist on the fibres of your heart, to bring forth melody of your response.

I share my response in Evangelizatio No. 1

EVANGELIZATIO:  My lived response to the texts with which the Church exhorts me to pray.  St. James says “Be doers of the Word.”  And the Book of Deuteronomy tells us that the Word of God is in our hands to do it. 

I am responding very honestly and personally to this Gospel.  I am thinking about what I need to hear and am not hearing because of my prejudices or my unforgiveness, or my hurts.  I am thinking about the beauty I am not seeing in others because of my prejudices, my clouded vision, my comfort zone which has others summed up and put in a box safely with the lid on.  They can stay there and I can get on with life.  But can I really get on with life? I am thinking about my lameness, the way I hobble along weighed down by my useless baggage:  the memory of hurt, those I still blame, those I shut out from my love.  Fr John Powell wrote:  “The day we stop blaming is the day we move on.”  (Happiness Is An Inside Job).  Try lugging two or three suitcases overseas – in and out of airports, until you drop.  You’ll either start sending stuff home by post or you’ll just get rid of all you can’t keep carrying.  The suitcases are the useless heavy weights we try to lug around.  Jesus wants to touch me, to touch all of us, and say:  Be healed, look at the beauty around you, hear the sounds of light and peace, walk the pilgrim road with a spring in your step.  I only have to go to Jesus and He will touch me.  So why don’t I just do this?

LECTIO DIVINA IS ABOUT READING THE SACRED SCRIPTURES, REFLECTING ON THE SACRED SCRIPTURES, FROM AN INFORMED BACKGROUND.  IT IS ALLOWING THE HOLY SPIRIT TO PLAY ON THE FIBRES OF MY HEART, LIKE A HARPIST, AND BRING FORTH THE BEAUTY OF MY RESPONSE.  IN RESPONDING TO THE TEXT, MY LIFE IS CHANGED MORE AND MORE INTO CHRIST.

Sr Hildegard Ryan OSB lives at Jamberoo Abbey

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