|Our Lady of Lourdes, Memorial
1 Kings 8:1-7, 9-13
Psalm 132:6-7, 8-10
“What do you want me to do for you?”
You may recall that Jesus poses this question to the blind man, Bartimeus, who called out to Jesus to be healed. Even though many rebuked him and told him to be silent, he called out all the more. Bartimeus’ persistence reveals his confident assurance in the desire and ability of Jesus to heal. It speaks of an attitude of heart that knows Jesus’ love and faithfulness, care and tender compassion.
This same confident assurance, this same faith, fills our Gospel reading today. The account tells how the people rushed to Jesus as He would come to their village. Immediately they would bring the sick to him. “Wherever he put in an appearance, in villages, in towns, or at crossroads, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him to let them touch just the tassel of his cloak. All who touched him got well.” (Mk 6, 56)
What astonishing faith these people displayed! Look at their actions: 1) They believed in their hearts that Jesus would heal them. 2) They rushed towards Him without hesitation, wondering, posturing, or deliberation. They accepted that it was right that they should come to Him. 3) They begged. They asked whole-heartedly for what they and those they loved needed, with a proper humility, eager to receive all that He had to give them. 4) They needed only to touch the tassel of his cloak. There was no need to find the proper words, or the proper way to ask, or even to wait until He acknowledged them. If only they could touch just a part of Him, they knew that healing love would flow from Him.
Do you and I approach Jesus in the same way? What do you say to him today as He asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” What do you want to receive from Him today? What is the healing that you need, that your family needs, that you want for your colleagues, friends, our world? ….But we hesitate to ask. So often we think that we need to do it alone--to be strong, to just get through and endure. In the midst of daily sorrows, losses and grief, we often fail to “taste” the presence of Jesus’ burning love sustaining us, holding us, feeding us, strengthening us. How He longs to console us… if we let Him!
So what can we do? Our ancestors in faith teach us boldly: believe, rush towards Him, beg for what we need, and know with confident assurance that it is enough to “touch the tassel of his cloak” in our simple prayers, our faithful tending to the cares of our days, our charity to others, and our worship and praise of Him. In the gift of the Eucharist, we hold far more than the tassel of His cloak; we receive His very Body and Blood! The key for you and me is humility. We need only be humble enough to ask and to receive.
Today marks the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, a marvelous celebration of the appearance of Mary to those children whose hearts were open in humility to receive. Let us ask Mary today to form our hearts like her own, full of a humble posture of receiving the Son of God in her womb. May we, with Mary, have the confidence to believe, to rush towards Him, to beg, and to receive what He offers us each day: His very Presence.
So, how will you answer Jesus today: “What do you want me to
do for you?”
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