Twenty Third Sunday Ordinary Time Year B 8 SEP 18


Ephphatha—Be Opened!

How many of us have longed to feel Jesus reach out and touch our ears and open our mouths?

How many of us have begged God to do or to heal something in our lives or the lives of others?

And when it appears our prayers are answered or not we are either over joyed or disappointed.

I hope we have been learning more in the Sabbath time together about prayer and its power in our lives.

The power of prayer is its ability not to change the mind of God, but to change ours.

Ephphatha—be opened….

Prayer is about opening ourselves to the deepest and most profound realities of the essence of God.

That is the core of the Spiritual Life….to seek the source of our being.

The entire goal of the Spiritual life…is simply to know, deep within our being, that we are loved!

I have two stories that may help us to understand what I am talking about tonight.

This past week I had the distinct privilege of celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation with a gentleman where I work.   He is struggling with terminal cancer and knows his days are limited.

As we talked through his life and the struggles he both endured and imposed on others, we both shed several tears and spoke to one another of the mystery of God.

As we concluded our time together, I put my hand on the top of his head and shared those sacred words:

God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

As I lifted my hand from his head and the tears were streaming down his face, he looked at me and said:

Fr.  no one has touched me with compassion and care in over 23 years.

Finally I know God does care!

And I said to him…Fred…(not his name of course) not only does God care….

God loves you!

He said through his tears….

I wish I could believe it and until now I don’t think I could…

I hope I can keep believing it!

If Sabbath has taught me anything my friends it is beginning to teach me that at the core of the Spiritual Life, lies a very simple and yet profoundly life changing reality…that God loves each and every one of us.

Even when we can’t believe it ourselves.

 

The very next day in reading one of the commentaries for this weekend this is what was said:

“You must try to pray so that, in your prayer, you open yourself in such a way that sometime—perhaps not today, but sometime—you are able to hear God say to you: ‘I love you.’  Not just a random…I love you…but you…using your name!

And then…

To top it off, just a few days later, I received an email from a dear friend, who is practicing Sabbath as well and who took the time to send me her reflection on this Sabbath prayer and she said:

I am coming to realize that not one atom of us is ever apart from God. 

My ego has often stood in the way of internalizing the vastness of God’s love. 

Surrendering is difficult. 

I have learned that it doesn’t mean apathy or doing nothing  but so often I have believed that I know what I need and should just ask for it in prayer to God.  

Surrender”keeps coming up as a way to know the answer to my quest of “ who am I”. 

I think baby steps are ok and

for now I truly hold onto God’s profound gift of love.

 

I wonder if maybe the greatest challenge we face in the Spiritual Life is not becoming more holy,

 

but rather the greatest challenge we face in the Spiritual Life may be coming to the profound realization that we already are!

 

Maybe you wonder that too?