Dear Companions on the Journey,
As many of you know, I lived for eleven years in Jerusalem. Now, with the benefit of Frequent Flier miles and a few days off, I have returned (where this is being written) to the sacred stones (shrines) and the living stones: the people. It has been a blessing to reconnect with many friends – Israeli, Palestinian, and “ex-pats.”
Early on in my visit, I went to one of my favorite places, the rock that tradition tells us is where Jesus was crucified. Since the city is overflowing with pilgrims, I was fortunate to find a seat towards the back of the chapel. I prayed and watched as hundreds lined up patiently for their twenty-seconds of kneeling down, putting their arm through the plexiglass hole, and touching the rock of crucifixion, almost saying by their awkward gesture: “If I touch the place where Jesus’ blood dripped and Jesus died, I can touch Jesus.”
But who really knows, exactly, where the crucifixion occurred?
Wanting to know where the crucifixion occurred is an important question, urged on to us by our Catholic urgency for “incarnation” (a big word for wanting our body to be involved in our faith – like genuflections, signs of the Cross, baptismal water poured over the forehead).
But another question also looms: since we believe that Jesus is alive today, Where might he still be suffering? And where might our faith move us to touch His wounded body, transferring, almost like electrical current, our healing touch?
In the last few months around the Paulist Center, I have been with people in their last few days. And, at each place (with permission, of course), I have joined with families in the sacred touch, the sacred bodies of those waiting, preparing to fall into the arms of our loving God.
Our Easter faith yearns to express itself, requires that we express it through our bodies. Is anyone you know in need of such a sacred touch, your holy presence, that flows from us out of our Easter faith? Such a healing touch does not travel well through a smart phone. Only a touch…
What do you think? And let us pray for/with one another.
The Paulist Center