Saturday, February 17, 2018

THE TOUCH OF JESUS: Dissolving Invisible Barriers


In the early hours of Ash Wednesday morning I had a vivid dream in which I was standing in a room with a glass wall looking out into the night, when from the darkness a life-size statue of  Jesus emerged (the Sacred Heart one in the Augustinian church in Galway). As it moved towards the glass wall it came alive.

He spoke but I don’t know what He said. His face was very kind - as in Divine Mercy - and with His right hand he touched the wall and it disappeared, like it dissolved. Then He touched me and I cried and asked Him to help me. I felt overcome, overwhelmed, startled and afraid.

Our faith, our religious experience can be like a statue – lovely but lifeless and unconnected with our lives. But our faith can come to life when we see it, not as a thing but, as a person, the person of Jesus who approaches us, reaches out to dissolve the barrier that separates us from Him, reaches out to touch us
and His touch can cause all sorts of reactions in us.

The approach of God can be startling, even frightening at first – perhaps because He is about to touch the very core of who we are, pershaps because we have no idea what’s going to happen to us. It can produce in us tears of sorrow for our sins and betrayals, as happened to Peter when Jesus looked at him after Peter denied Him.

Our tears may flow from the relief of being healed, being forgiven, having a burden lifted. We may weep simply because He has touched us.

In the Gospel (Mark 1:12-15) Jesus emerges from the dark night and the dryness of the desert. He approaches the desert of our soul. As He went to Galilee so He comes to us announcing the “Good News from God”, calling us to repent and believe, to embrace and embody this Good News. The time has come, He says, and the Kingdom of God is close at hand.

Jesus Himself is the Good News from God, He Himself is the Kingdom, and we enter His Kingdom when we repent and our repentence is that we allow Him to touch us, to change and transform us by His Mercy; when we allow Him to dissolve the invisible barriers that separate us from Him.

And here’s the thing, we often don’t realize there are any barriers precicely because they are invisible to us. We often don't recognize our need of Mercy, our need of a life changing, intimate encounter Jesus.

"Then the hand of Jesus touched me,
And now I am no longer the same.
He touched me, Oh He touched me,
And oh the joy that floods my soul!
Something happened and now I know,
He touched me and made me whole"

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