If there is one constant in the life of a priest, is that so much of what it means to be a priest places us in the context of relationships. We witness the promises husband and wife make to each other in marriage, we see the pride of young parents as they bring their children to be baptized, we accompany people when they are sick or in the hospital, and we find ourselves present in the last moments of someone’s life. We are also privileged to be part of the most important relationship, namely one’s relationship with God.
One of the greatest graces in my life, has been to witness the holiness that is pervasively present in the people that I have come to know and serve. It is one thing to hear a document of the Second Vatican Council which tells us that everyone has a call to holiness, but it is quite another thing to witness the power of the spirit relationship but a person seeks to answer that call universal holiness.
We see the quest for holiness clearly with those individuals who encounter Jesus in today’s gospel. It becomes quite clear that a relationship with Jesus changes everything. It enables a worried father to have confidence in the healing of a serious illness that afflicts his daughter. It allows a woman who is been afflicted with disease for many years, to believe that simply touching the cloak of this Jesus can bring about healing. What is clear in relationships that we see in today’s gospel, is the overwhelming belief on the part of those who come to Jesus that he can change not only their lives or the lives of those whom they care about.
It is such a powerful and humbling trust. As I think about these individuals in the gospel, and those individuals whose spiritual lives I have been a part of in my own journey as a priest, I am inspired to consider my own trust and faith in God. Because too often in my own life, I find myself worried and anxious about insignificant things. I can understand the worry and anxiety of the father concerned about the death of his daughter, or the desperate hope of a woman who is been years with tremendous suffering. But I find myself being bent out of shape when there isn’t coffee available in the morning.
I am working today on trusting Jesus really is Lord. I am working today on recognizing that when my priorities give way to the priorities of Jesus, the tremendous trust and mercy that we witness in today’s gospel is available to me and to you.