Our Own “Selfie”
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 8, 2015
MK 1:29-39

Autograph books are a thing of the past. Today, it’s all about the “selfie.” Even Pope Francis has been known to humor the occasional fan by leaning back and smiling into the cell phone, held at arm’s length by the eager young people standing shoulder to shoulder with him. A picture with a celebrity is certain proof that a person came into contact with a celebrity. Moreover, it is something that can be easily shared and will endure the passage of time, helping the people in the picture relive the moment over and over again. Still, it is the actual moment of contact that’s important. Anyone can “photo shop” an image of themselves standing next to Taylor Swift. But only the fortunate few can say that they actually danced with her, touched her hand, or were graced with a hug. The thrill is the actual moment of contact…and if there happens to be a picture as proof…even better.

The Gospel proclaimed on this 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time offers us a timeless Word picture of an amazing moment of contact between a desperately ill woman and Jesus. “Immediately” upon entering the home where she laid close to death, the Lord was informed of her condition. One can’t help but wonder what He was told. Maybe he was warned away, like health care workers in an Ebola-infected village. “Jesus, You shouldn’t come in, Mother is very sick and You might catch her fever! We just can’t take the chance.”

Rather than backing away, or looking for a hazmat suit, Jesus moved towards the healing moment of contact. He grasped her hand and wrapped His arms around her waist, helping her to her feet. Mark 1:29-39 is the ultimate “selfie.” In this Word picture

“…you see how fever loosens its grip on a person whose hand is held by Christ’s; no sickness can stand its ground in the face of the very source of health. Where the Lord of life has entered, there is no room for death.” (Taken from Sermon 18 of St. Peter Chrysologus 380-450, Doctor of the Church)

This healing miracle was shared far and wide. It was certain proof of the healing moment of contact between the familiar face of the celebrity carpenter from Nazareth and a woman in desperate need. But, it was and continues to be much more. It is God’s “selfie”…standing shoulder to shoulder with humankind…but at the same time…at arm’s length from us…capturing for all time the Divine Image so that we can relive the healing moment over and over; especially when we are incapacitated by anything that threatens our physical, emotional, or
spiritual health.

And here is the Good News! We don’t have to look at this Word picture to remember or relive this healing moment of contact. We can experience it for ourselves each and every time we walk up the isle with an outstretched hand. The Eucharist offers us an opportunity to invite Jesus into our hearts, and even as He did not recoil from the threat of illness as He stood at the threshold of Peter’s home, there is nothing that would cause The Lord to turn away from us. Rather, in the Eucharist, Christ approaches us and grasps the hand that we extend. And “where the Lord has entered there is no room for death” or fear, or hopelessness. The thrill of that healing moment of contact will transform us…bring us to our feet, and make us want to share our “selfie with Christ.” Who wouldn’t want to prove that they held the hand of the Lord…danced with The Lord of life…were hugged by God?