SUNDAY 24 JANUARY 2016, 3rd Sunday Ordinary Time
•Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10 • Psalm 19 • 1 Corinthians 12:12-30 • Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21 •
[__01__] Years ago, I was about 10 years old at the time, I recall that my family and I went to see my father’s brother – my uncle play – in a football game for his team in the Bronx.
We had to wait for some time at the end of game for him to appear and come over to us. I recall that we were standing about 100 yards away, waiting for him. I thought that we would have to wait for him to be very close to us so that we could see his face or uniform up close, a name or number.
However, from a distance my father observed that he could recognize my uncle by his walk, by his gait, by the way he was walking.
As a young person, this made a big impression on me that a person could be recognized – and clearly identified – by one’s posture or walk.
We could not see his face, we could not hear his voice. We could not see his uniform. But a distance, we could see him walking.
[__02__] Have you and I not experienced – or identified – a person by his or footsteps on the staircase. We know the person by his or body language, even if the person were out of sight.
[__03__] I reflect on this theme, based on the 2nd reading, from the 12th chapter of the 1st letter of Paul to the Corinthians. Paul writes, communicates, with the language and images of the human person, of you and of me.
“Now the body is not a single part, but many. If a foot should say, “Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body,” it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. Or if an ear should say, “Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body,” it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?”
[__04__] St. Paul writes in this way so that there may be no division in the body. Well, naturally and scientifically, we do not want division or pain or illness, whether in the head or the toe, the hand or the foot.
If one member (one part of the body) were to suffer, then all the members would suffer with it.
Doctors, nurses, technicians and the many professionals go to school, receive training, so that they can interpret our body language and bring healing and maintain health.
Certainly, any one of these professionals – any one of these doctors might interrupt us or correct us if we try to self-diagnose or to understand one part of the body without reference to the whole organism, organic structure, anatomy and physiology.
Where there is a person, there is also an indivisible structure. By the way, we would also say that this indivisibility, this indissolubility is not only PHYSICAL. Rather, we say that we also believe in connection between our SOULS and our BODIES. This is because we believe God created and gave both to us.
[__04.01__] I saw once saw a cartoon in a magazine [The New Yorker] in which a window washer climbs through the open glass into the empty office of a physician/doctor. You can see the diplomas, medical school, residency and others, hanging on the wall. The doctor is out. The phone is ringing. There is no voice mail. The window washer, trying to be helpful, picks up the ringing phone and says, “Take 2 aspirin and call me in the morning.”
So, he can speak the body language but he does not really know what he is saying. He has not seen the patient. By the way, he’s not a doctor.
[*** P A U S E ***]
[__05__] For my father to recognize his brother at a distance – by posture or by his walk – he of course had fulfilled the prerequisite of seeing him up close for many years. He knew him well.
[__06__] PRAYER. PETITIONS.
When I come before God with a particular petition, I often focus on one particular part, one particular need. Perhaps you do the same.
We do the same with the doctor. Hey, doc, my arm is bothering me. To the dentist or oral surgeon, my tooth hurt. Soon, we are being asked more general questions about our diet, our sleep patterns, our blood pressure, stress.
We had hoped this would be solved in a 15-minute appointment or in 6-8 weeks of treatment and recovery. And I can be back in action before snow the melts.
What is true of the body may be true of the spirit.
[__07__] We ask God for help with a difficult person or a difficult decision. However, the Lord does not simply want us to change or solve this relationship or this person.
God wants us to change ourselves …and perhaps, our whole outlook.
The Lord also believes that we can do this.
Through the language of this body and blood in the Holy Eucharist, we are told that he wants to nourish us and unite us to himself.
Through the body language of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, he comes to heal us not only of one sin but all of our sins so that we can walk with him.
And, in this sacrament of the confession of our sins, we realize that he has mercy on us because he sees us and has seen us – as no one else has – that he knows our hearts – for God looks into the heart.
He also knows what we need before we ask.
And he sees us from a distance and hopes that we would draw closer to him each day. [__fin__]