There is an absolutely beautiful scene from the popular TV show, Chosen, that depicts a scene similar to this. A leper is thrown out of society and seen as unclean. Even the apostles are afraid to approach and try to stay away. You can see the desperation in his eyes for healing. You can see the tears well up as he is cast out and treated like swine. Jesus looks up with similar tears and approaches without fear. “Your faith has saved you.” And immediately the leper was healed and rejoiced in the goodness of God.
I think we can all relate to this story in one way or another. The reality is that we are all unclean. We have all eaten from the pig trough of the world and of sin. We have all fallen short of the glory of God. And yet, we have immense hope for healing. Jesus enters the story with the same tears that we shed. He enters our story, or hurt, our misery, our wounds, our sin. He enters into the mess to help us, like a good shepherd would.
Today is a very special day for my wife, Nathalie, and I. On December 4th we had our very first date. We went to a coffee shop and ordered blueberry tea. We sat there and talked for hours and got to know each other. As I reflect on the last few years of marriage and of dating, I can’t help but relate this Gospel to our life. Many people don’t talk about the Sacrament of Marriage as being different from marriage in general. The difference, of course, is the grace you receive from Christ to live out your vows in good times and in bad.
Sometimes life throws you some curveballs. This year has been a crazy one for us, as it has for most. Moving, our dog got a broken leg, getting Covid and being quarantined, having a tree fall on our house, getting my tonsils removed, and much more. But yet, through it all, we can feel the grace of the sacrament working through us every day. Working through us to continually cleanse us and help us grow closer together. This is the power of any sacrament. They take us from our unclean and broken selves and infuse us with the grace of God which helps us to accomplish all things.
The sacramental life is so important. During this time it is much more difficult to attend the sacraments on a regular basis. For those who cannot get out and receive the sacraments yet, I offer a spiritual communion at the end of this post. This prayer asks for the grace of Christ to come upon us even though we cannot physically attend the sacrament. For those of us who are able to safely get out and go, I implore you to find new ways during this Advent season to receive the grace of the sacraments. We all need grace. God offers it freely. Let’s go soak it up. Happy Advent and from all of us here at Rodzinka Ministry, God Bless!
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there
and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Tommy Shultz is the Founder/Director of Rodzinka Ministry and the Director of Faith Formation for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative. In these roles, he is committed to bringing all those he meets into a deeper relationship with Christ. Tommy has a heart and flair for inspiring people to live their faith every day. He has worked in various youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. He has been a featured speaker at retreats and events across the country. With a degree in Theology from Franciscan University, Tommy hopes to use his knowledge to help all people understand the beauty of The Faith. Contact Tommy at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out his website at rodzinkaministry.com.
Feature Image Credit: Moisés Becerra, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/9881-franciscanos