There is a sweetness that flows from divine love animating the lives and purposes of individuals. It is brilliantly displayed in the eyes and hands, the presence and actions of some of us. Genuine, sincere, they do the small things that make a big difference in the lives of others: the driver who notices a shivering gas station attendant in the winter and pulls around with a cup of coffee; the cashier who carefully divides an elderly customer’s order into manageable bags; the man who takes the time to escort a fearful friend to a clinic. In each one, there is a measure of wholeness being imparted to someone who needs it. Each shows a consciousness, an attentiveness and awareness of others. Each is an action illuminated by realistically viewing the other person, the situation and the way of gently moving forward. None of it is entangled with rules and regulations, commands or expectations.
This week, the first reading captures the source for that from the Book of Wisdom:
“God did not make death,
nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.
For he fashioned all things that they might have being;
and the creatures of the world are wholesome…“
Humanity has been shaped with a natural goodness, an affinity for others, a desire for wholeness. In startling recognition of human suffering and brokenness, there is the blanket of healing and the offers of hope. Even in the darkest hours, there is Jesus, person to person, touching lives and making seemingly awful situations so much better. Animated by love, Jesus touches and heals over and over again in the Gospel of Mark. Each instance is marked by intimacy: there is conversation with Jesus, touching his clothes. And there is the startling impact of real presence. In so many ways, Christians are called to the attentiveness that transcends perceptions of difference, discrimination and judgement of each other. The strength of who we are is not defined by the rules we follow or by the beliefs expoused. Instead, who we are is defined by the relations and interactions with others that are animated by love, generosity and kindness. Goodness flows from heart and spirit and brings more goodness.
Maybe the fundamental factor is that human beings are made wholesome. Believing that, knowing that, mitigates diminished self-worth, self-doubt, self-blame and a distorted sense of responsibility. It enables a consciouness of reality, of the ability to read circumstances and make critical choices in a full context. It is no different than the woman afflicted by the hemmorage that sought the edge of Jesus’ cloak and was healed. He speaks to her of faith and peace, giving a gift of calm after the tumultous seas of her search for healing. There is a practical realism to each instance of healing, and the source is in the connection with other.
In this noisy world, we are the conduits of that miraculous connection; we make things happen for and with each other. We have the capacity to practice that attentive openness, to be the healing hands for each other. We were not made to be perfect, but to be wholesome. Hope resides in the reality that we are in this human life together, and we have been gifted the chance, the opportunity, to make this life better for one another one interaction at a time.