To See Jesus--Monday's Gospel
When I was appointed Infirmarian of my community 6 years ago, I had as one of my "patients" our eldest sister in the house. For 45 years she answered the mountains of community correspondence and requests for prayers. After years of bending over her desk she was now permanently bent over at an almost 90 degree angle and it took some convincing to get her to use a walker as she would sometimes lose her balance. Often at night after Compline, I would be in her cell helping her get ready for bed and we would chat. One night she lay back on her bed and said to me, "You know what the hardest part of being like this is? It isn't the pain so much as now I can't even look up and see Jesus in the monstrance."
Every time I read this Gospel account in Luke I think of our Sr. Mary of the Immaculate Heart and her desire "to see Jesus." In this Gospel we have a woman bent over with an infirmity for eighteen long years. What is astounding is that she doesn't say a word; we don't even know if she was looking for Jesus or if she just happened to walk in the synagogue! But Jesus saw her! Even more astounding is that nothing is said of her faith but Jesus must have known the depths of her love of God for once she was cured "she praised God."It is Jesus who initiates, who calls. And we who are bent over, held down by our sinfulness, our fears, our lack of true self love as children of God, are straightened up so that we too can see Jesus! It is when we "keep our eyes on Jesus" that we see our lives in a totally new way.
In many ways this account in Luke's gospel could also be an example of contemplative prayer. We need only look on Jesus and praise him simply by our very being. Most of all, WE are being looked on with love by Jesus who brings us into the love of the Father and the Holy Spirit. There is no need for words. If we make ourselves available, if we "learn to waste time with the one we love" (c.f. Letter of Approval for the Ratio Formationis Generalis for the Nuns of the Order of Preachers by Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, OP), Jesus will lay his hands on us and lift us up from all that holds us back from him and we too "will rejoice at all the glorious things done by him!"