Monday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Healing is a fascinating process. It engages people and transforms them. It invites us and draws us. When we bear witness to healing, we rarely come away unchanged ourselves. Healing just doesn't seem to have any clear boundaries to it.

Mark's Gospel reading is about the healings at Gennesaret. His story tells as much about the villagers as they do about Jesus and those he healed. It says "they scurried about the surrounding country" bringing others to be healed.  They brought the sick on mats and laid them in marketplaces wherever Jesus went, and they begged him to let them touch the tassel on his cloak. It sounds like these villagers were on a well-coordinated mission. They work with the same sense of purpose and urgency for their neighbor as they would if the healing was for themselves.  There is a deep interdependence and interconnectedness in them. There just doesn't seem to be any boundaries for them. In many ways, this feels countercultural to us; our communities feel different. We live farther away from one another and see most people only on Sunday. Our lives rarely intersecting outside of Mass. Even within our 'inner circles', we can find the invisible 'boundary' created by a layer of technology very convenient. It's become an acceptable choice to maintain a 'safe' distance, not engaging face-to-face. It's not something we sense in those ancient villagers.

There are people we see and only politely acknowledge every day. These encounters can remain just so, or we can change them. We can cross that invisible boundary and genuinely welcome another person to move a bit closer—even at the risk of accepting a little responsibility for their well-being or being part of one another's healing.  No matter the result, this small effort brings the Kingdom of God closer to the fullness God desires. Today, let us reflect on the many polite encounters we will have and make a choice that will magnify the Lord.

-Gail Lyman