“Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” (Matthew 11.3-4)
A dear friend send me this on email last week. Some time ago, this father punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight, and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, “This is for you, Daddy.” He was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found that the box was empty. He yelled at her, “Don’t you know that when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something inside of it?” The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said, “Oh, Daddy it’s not empty. I blew kisses into the box. All for you, Daddy.” The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged her forgiveness. My friend told me that he kept that gold box by his bed for years. Whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.
Very cool. The girl wanted to fill her dad with kisses and she thought of this delightful idea. She did not let go, even when her dad was angry at her.
Yes, very cool indeed. Especially if we realize that God is like this little girl! He also wants to fill our life with kisses. But his kisses are not imaginary or make believe. They are real.
Blind? Deaf? Who, me?!
Looking at the paper this morning, I was reminded again of the real life story of Helen Keller. This girl, born in 1860 in Alabama, when small contracted a severe congestion of the stomach and brain that left her in a world where there was neither light nor sound. When she was 19 months old, she found herself blind and deaf. Closed in her own world because no one could possibly reach her, no one could possibly make any contact with her.
“Silence and darkness surrounded me. I forgot that it had ever been day.”
When this girl was seven, spoiled, wild, willful, almost savage in her attitude, the Kellers hired 20 year old Annie Sullivan, an Irish teacher to guide her daughter out of darkness. Sullivan managed gradually to bring Helen out of her solitude. By signing words into her pupil’s hands she managed to bring this girl back to reality. She could communicate, she could relate .. she was out of hell. As Helen herself later writes in biblical terms, “Thus I came out of Egypt, and stood before Sinai, and a power divine touched my spirit and gave sight so that I beheld many wonders.”
As I was reading her story, I suddenly realized how similar we are to Helen Keller. We may see and hear. But how much we do not see and do not hear. How blind and deaf we can be. I mean if I were to ask you – what is the more important thing in your life, whether it is making money or being devoted to your family, I am sure that virtually everyone will answer, “Family”, without hesitation. But then when we look at our lives, we find that family is not where we really invest our time and energy. Many of us have persuaded ourselves that if we leave for work early in the morning and come home tired at night, we are proving how devoted we are to our family. I have had many occasions to spend hours with folks who are about to die. Not one of them has ever told me, “I wish I had spent more time on my work or on my money.”
Common sense is no longer so common. It has become a rare commodity. This psychologist who has a radio program in the States and Canada, was saying how bewildered she is with the kind of questions she gets. “Should I report my adult son to the police for forging my signature on cheques? … Should I pay for my 17 year old daughter’s 20-year-old boyfriend to come and live here? She is so unhappy without him… Should I get my 16-year-old daughter breast implants? She’d be so much happier! … Should I tell my drug-abusing 18-year-old son who bring home girls overnight that he needs to move out? I am afraid he’s a bad influence on the younger children? Should I get an attorney and fight my daughter’s high school for barring her from graduation because she broke the rules and got drunk with her prom friends? I don’t want her to miss graduation…” So blind. Parents interested more in their kids’ phony happiness that their character development. More interested in the immediate sense of amusement than their children’s values and morals.
Is there a way out? There is! There is a miracle waiting to happen. Life can and should be different. The miracle is Jesus Christ who wants to enter into your world. He does not want to remain standing outside your door, coming in for just an hour every week. He wants to come in and start working! Tidying your home. Making internal surgery!
When the disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus whether he is the one to come or whether we should wait more, Jesus answered by telling them. Go and tell John the Baptist what you are seeing.
The blind are receiving their sight back. He wants to open the eyes of the blind soul so that we can start seeing and understanding heavenly wisdom. The lame are walking. He wants to give strength to our inner legs so that we can start really walking in the right way. The lepers are being cleansed from their filth and sin. The deaf are hearing the voice of their Maker. “The poor are being evangelized.”
This is why Jesus Christ came. To bring some sense in the world. This is why Jesus Christ wants to come into your world – to bring some sense into your world.
Will you let him in? Just one small hint today. I went hearing confessions recently to this school nearby. I suggested to the kids to say a small prayer before going to bed in front of a cross or a picture of Jesus or Mary. Imagine my shock when many of them told me that they have posters of The Spice Girls or of Michael Jordan or of The Beach Boys but not of Jesus. What a pity depriving our kids of their right to be brought in faith. Therefore these days, instead of frantically trying to get a Furby !!!, why don’t you build a nice crib with your kids, a nativity scene of some sorts, at home? Put it in the living room or dining room and put lights and flowers – make it beautiful. And starting today, gather all the family together, and say a small prayer in front of Baby Jesus before going to bed every night? These are no silly stupidities but one way of transmitting faith in the family.
One cold day in December, in Upper New York, a little boy about 10 years old was standing before a shoe store peering through the window. A lady happened to be passing by and seeing the boy, asked him, “My little fellow, why are you looking so earnestly in that window?” “I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes,” was the boy’s reply.
The lady took him by the hand and went into the store, and asked the clerk to get half a dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of water and a towel. The clerk was surprised but he brought them to her. The woman took the little fellow to the back part of the store and washed his little feet, dried them with a towel, placed a pair of the new sock upon the boy’s feet, and went on to purchase him a pair of shoes. “Do you feel better now?” the woman kindly asked. The boy could not answer. But as she turned to go, he caught her by the hand, and looking up asked her ,”Are you God’s Wife?”
Only He can give us the wisdom and the care we need in life to make a real difference…
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.