2nd Thursday of Ordinary Time
One of the occupational hazards of living a silent life is that there are fewer
things to distract us from our interior problems. Even while singing the liturgy
or working in silence, we can let our minds think too much about our latest
failure or embarrassment, or about situations that we can’t do much about, and so we spend time worrying about them. This preoccupation with our own
selves, if we really work at it, is a good way to grow in unhappiness. It’s not a
good way to grow closer to God.
If God lets us experience our weaknesses one by one, it’s not so that we can
devote most of our waking hours to thinking about them. It’s so that we can
turn to God with all of our faults and weaknesses intact, and give ourselves to
him just as we are.
That’s not just good psychology. It’s a personal invitation from Jesus to join
the crowd in today’s Gospel: He had cured many and, as a result, everyone
who had something wrong was pushing and shoving to get near and touch
him. These people did not waste any time bemoaning their faults and looking
at their miserable selves. Instead, they looked at Jesus, touched him with their prayer, and came away at peace with themselves and with God.
The purpose of being confronted with our own misery is not to make us feel
miserable. It’s so that we can know better who this person is that we are
bringing to God, and so that God can bring home to us how very much he
loves us, when even what we know about ourselves does not prevent him from loving us. Pope Francis calls this Divine Mercy: something in the very being of God longs for us to give ourselves to him in our misery, so that he may give himself to us in his mercy. The experience of our weakness is Love’s way of calling attention to our need of him, so that God can deepen the love between him and us.
If we do join the crowd in today’s Gospel and touch Jesus with our prayer, we
might look around and see the other Christians who are doing the same thing. And we might remember Jesus’ words at the Last Supper: The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind – just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, so they might be one heart and mind with us.
As we offer this Mass for the unity of Christians, let us place in God’s hands
all our faults and failings, including those which hinder the unity of the
Church which is so dear to his heart. Blessed are those called to the supper of
the Lamb, where God gives himself to us, with Divine Mercy.