Image: Aurora over a northern highway
In today’s gospel passage we find Jesus facing multiple demands on his time and attention. As he is having a discussion with the followers of John the Baptist, who are questioning his methods and teachings, he is approached by an important man in need of Jesus’ healing touch. Learning that it is a life or death situation, regarding the man’s daughter, Jesus’ focus immediately changes, and he leaves to follow the man to his home knowing he can return to the conversation with John’s disciples later. As he turns to attend to this priority another hand reaches out to him for help, a woman who has been suffering for many years and who sees Jesus as her last desperate hope.
If you are a fan of medical dramas on television, you can imagine the scene in the emergency room as nurses and doctors triage the most important cases. Our own lives might reflect this image when we face the competing demands of family, work, and our own need for personal time. Keeping focus in a hectic situation is not easy and what Jesus does in this passage is impressive. He quickly prioritizes the most important thing to do, and that is where his attention goes and stays as long as it is needed.
Jesus has a way of quickly sifting through distractions and attending to the most important point of a situation. This way of being is no doubt cultivated in his prayer life, his connection with his Father, but also by how he sees people as people, and not as interruptions to his plans. His connection with individuals is more than superficial. Each encounter is as important as if that person were the only one in the room. He could have walked away from the woman who touched his cloak but it was important that he stop, even for a brief moment, and affirm her faith and let her know that she was going to be alright.
When we love someone, we put them first and when something is wrong, we will put all else aside and attend to their need. This is how Jesus responded to the people he met, and it is how God attends to us.
The prophet Hosea talks about God’s love for His people, especially when they are hurting. In the first reading we hear God taking about rebuilding a relationship with a people who have gone astray and how God’ priority is to bring us back and to restore the connection we once had. Though he is the creator of the universe, of all that is seen and unseen, there is no lengths to which God will not go to offer his love to us and to be present to us in our need.
As you begin your day ask God to help you keep your eyes open to the people around you. Ask God to help you to see them as God sees them; created in His image, children of God and your brothers and sisters who are deserving of your love. Be attentive to who God sends your way and who crosses your path. Those we might see as interruptions to our routine and schedules may just be those who most need a sign of God’s healing touch in their lives and God may be using your presence as His instrument of healing.