In today’s first reading, in the letter to the Hebrews, Paul reminds them that they are “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses . . .” I was ever mindful that I, too, was surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, and thus worked carefully and quietly, so as not to scare them and start a fracas. But I could not get my mind away from the presence of all of those birds just a few yards away from me (too many late nights watching Alfred Hitchcock movies, I guess), so I had to stop for awhile. I watched them as they went about their business, feeding, sauntering around, and just sitting. And I realized how difficult it is to focus on any one bird when it is just one of a crowd of so many.
In the Gospel, we hear that a large crowd gathered around Jesus, who was barely able to gain landfall due to the immense number of His followers. Jesus was (and is), as we know, a Superstar!
Contrast that with the two individuals who sought Jesus’ help. Jesus knew how to work the crowd, for sure, but He was even better when He dealt with individuals. In both His healing of the woman with hemorrhages and Jairus’ daughter, physical contact was the difference. Through physical contact, the healing power of God flowed through Him.
At Creighton, many of my work hours are spent on the computer, producing and analyzing data and creating Web forms to automate processes that had previously been done with paper forms. This saves everyone time, money, and allows students to access and submit a form any time of the day or night. It’s much more efficient than the old way.
However, we should be ever-mindful that it is the personal contact that often makes a huge difference in someone’s life. We must always remember that we are automating routine tasks so that we all can spend more time being more fully present to those who need us, and less time dealing with routine paper-shuffling.
I wonder, if Jesus was present in human flesh right now, if He’d have a blog for his preaching and teaching, and save his personal contact time for one-on-one healing?
And the birds? I watched them for awhile, and then all at once, as if triggered by some barely perceptible danger, as one they flew off with an incredible cacophony of beating wings that darkened the sky as they flew overhead and out of sight. Perhaps an early harbinger of Good Friday.
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