One Big Crowd

“Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.”  Hebrews 7:25

Original by Jean D. Dortch

“Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him. He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him.”  Mark 3:8-10
The square was packed with people pushing to get to the front. By the time the Pope was driven around to our side, people were passing their children up to us to get Pope John Paul II to touch them. The entire moment was surreal. When he reached down and took my hand, I understood from that touch what all the hoopla was about and I knew I had been touched by one whom God had sent. The crowd had come from far away places and in order for the Pope not to be crushed, there were barricades and a glassed-in  vehicle. Everyone in the crowd that day wanted to touch him, not because he could cure, but because we knew that before us was a man who truly would intercede for us to God. We knew that the man before us was sincere when he said he would pray for our healing, for our needs, for our children and our parents, for us. The entire pressing crowd knew that his words were guided by the Spirit and through his touch we knew that he was sent to make a difference.
Jesus was sent to save us. He was sent to intercede for us to God. He was sent to heal us and to deeply touch our lives. Despite the crowds, the difficulties, the pressing of others in this world not to believe, we are called to go to Him and allow Him to save us. Be a part of the incredible crowd of believers and arrive early. He will intercede and your life will be changed forever.

A Healing Touch

“Do not touch anything in this store.” “Hands in your pockets. I mean it.” “No. No. Don’t touch.” Seems we are constantly on our children about keeping their hands to themselves, especially in certain stores where if they break something, it becomes ours. Touching can lead to ownership. Simple.

Today as Fr. Mark read the Gospel about Jesus healing the leper and referred to yesterday’s reading of the healing of Simon’s mother-in-law, he commented on the importance of Jesus’ touch. He could have just said the words and they would have been healed but instead He touched them. My mind immediately went to the idea of telling my children a million times not to touch things that did not belong to them. But these people, people everywhere, kept coming to Jesus because they wanted to belong to Him. Jesus owned up to the power to heal the sick and the lost and they bought into all He had to offer. Who wouldn’t?

Many times I have thought before giving money to a street person, “If I give it to him, he will expect it every time I see him.” If I touch him now, he’s mine. I’ve bought into his misery and his need. Well, so what! So what if I have to give him a little something every time I see him. Maybe it’s time for me to get my hands out of my pockets and touch someone. I certainly cannot heal with these hands but God can work through them some other way. We’re all so worried about breaking something. Well, it’s already broken so let’s work together to fix it. Let’s touch someone today and maybe tomorrow and who knows, maybe all week. Let’s not worry about what others think and start making a difference. Let’s buy into these Gospel messages and own up to our beliefs. It’s not easy. People we touch may rely on us again and again. And then again, that may be just the ticket we need.

St. Mary Magdalene

I finally got my side view mirror fixed! I can change lanes without turning my entire body around and my children will once again ride in the car with me. Life is almost back to normal (whatever that is).

When my father was sick in the hospital for weeks, I sort of took it for granted that I could move in and out of the parking garage without thinking much about what I was doing. One night as I was leaving, I whacked my mirror on one of the poles. Man. Like the situation was not upsetting enough in itself!

My dad died in November last year and I just now took the time to replace the mirror. As I got in the car and headed for home, I heard(?), I imagined(?), I understood my dad to send me a message. “Now, stop straining to always be looking in the rear view, in the past. Live for today. Do not worry about yesterday.  Move forward.”

Today, as we celebrate the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, we hear Jesus say, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Hmm. This message made me think about the message from my dad (so to speak). I think, he wants me to move forward, to live my life without worrying about the past. Maybe even to let him move on…but I know that’s a stretch to believe that I would get that kind of message. But, thank God for the faith to even believe that a Scripture passage could give us such comfort about the one we love who has gone before us. Thank God for the faith to believe that as I drove home and could not control my emotions that maybe my dad was trying to tell me to let go of the past. Even if the message for us today is to stop hanging on to “things”, to go to confession and relieve ourselves of our problems so that we can move forward. Even if the message from Mary Magdalene today is to share with others the Risen Christ, to go to our brothers and tell them that it is all real, He has Risen and He dwells among us. Even if the message is merely to believe. Even if all of these things…we should be grateful for the moment, for the opportunity, for the truth, for our faith. On this feast of St. Mary Magdalene, we hear Jesus ask, “Whom are you looking for?” Let’s face it. Everyone is looking for a Savior whether they realize it or not. Stop looking in the past. See clearly without straining. Live fully this day. He is right here in our midst. Believe and live.

The Crucifix

This is what we can hear Him say as we gaze upon the Crucifix. “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as we know the “rest of the story,” He is risen and dwells among us. He is real and He lives in each of us. He is flesh ad bones and all He asks is that we love one another. I personally find it the most difficult challenge of my day, but the Crucifix reminds me to stay the course. “Do not be afraid.” Gaze upon the Crucifix and listen to Him speak. He is love. We can go to daily Mass, pray the Rosary daily, do special Penances, etc…but if we have not loved, if we have not shown mercy, “we are but a noisy gong.” Listen to Him. What do you hear?

Power of Prayer

You may or may not know that I am headed West in my wagon (Ford Flex) with two of my six children to visit Mary. I am at the end of writing a book on Marian Shrines and am going to Santa Fe to visit the Chapel of Loretto and to Santa Clara to visit Our Lady of Peace Shrine. I’ll share pics!

I include this in my hand-me-downs because many, many years ago I made this trip out west with my parents and my 5 brothers and 2 sisters and my grandmother in a station wagon pulling a pop-up camper. Oh the stories that still go ’round about that trip! Of course the wagon back then required no seat belts and the back seat faced backwards and there was a tiny sliver between the way back and back seat that I could ride in and not be “touched” by any of the others. My wagon is a little different but the sense of adventure is just as exciting.When my dad asked me Sunday if I was gonna drive the entire trip with no help, I simply asked, “Did you drive the entire trip when we went to California as a family?” “Yes.” “Then…yes, sir.”

As we drove through Arkansas yesterday, a horrible hail storm started that truly scared us. Cars were pulling off and it sounded like the front windshield was going to bust. My daughter checked and said, “Mom, it recommends we pull off so we don’t hurt the car.” Seemed too late for that with the size hail that was pelting us but I pulled over and crept down the side of the road with the others. Suddenly, I started praying the Hail Mary out loud. One daughter turned to the other and said, “I could hear you too. I was doing the same thing.” I moved back on the street despite the abuse of the ice and continued the automatic prayer to Our Lady. By the third Hail Mary, the sky was “clear as a bell” and we were moving on toward New Mexico. We all commented on how quickly the prayers worked and how quickly we went to Jesus and Our Lady for help. We feared the shape of the exterior but when we stopped for gas and checked, there was not a scratch or a dent to be seen. “Even the roof looks fine.”

Thank you to my parents for passing on the Power of Prayer and the sense of adventure!