Meet His Reach With Your Own
Mark 5:21-43 tells us the stories of two reaches….one by a woman afflicted with terrible hemorrhages and the other by Our Lord to bring a little girl back to life. The woman’s reach was desperation mixed with faith and Our Lord’s was, as always, pure love and compassion triggered by the father’s faith. Many people were touching Jesus in that crowd, but only one touched Him in faith, and she was carried out of the darkness of her disease. Many people mocked Jesus when He told them that the little girl was only asleep, but His touch carried her out of the darkness of death. We are living in a world which thrives on hands-on proof of everything, which always seems to favor what the senses can perceive over what the soul and the heart can perceive. Many years ago, AT & T had a commercial which told us to “reach out and touch someone”. Is that not what following Christ is all about? Doesn’t He ask us to reach out to others in love, to touch their lives with that love and service? Was not His entire ministry a vibrant example of just that kind of touch, in action and word?
Surely, if we even partially follow this world’s dictates, tastes, whims, persuasions, and superficial traits, we always seem to be just out of Christ’s touch, just a bit beyond the warmth of His influence. Given this reality, it is no wonder that those who truly follow the Master always seem to be reaching, to have to extend themselves beyond the rules of a world whose regulations, dictates, recipes, and instructions always seem to avoid, to flee Our Lord
On one hand, some may argue that having to reach for Christ is a sign that we are not fully engaged in following Him for, if we really did try, we would never be far enough from Him to have to reach. While such thinking is understandable, it is not realistic. We are imperfect humans following a perfect Master: reaching is fully included in such an unbalanced situation. I tend to agree with those who argue that, indeed, reaching is part of the deal and, in fact, part of the mission. I believe that we are called to reach for Christ just as that woman did. Perhaps our reach, like hers, will be part desperation and part faith but, like hers, at least it will be a reach in the right direction. We are also called, and expected, to reach for others in love, just as Christ did, for that is where we truly clothe the naked, feed the hungry, satisfy the thirsty, and visit the sick.
Ultimately, then, finding Christ is about loving Him enough to reach for Him, wanting Him enough to extend ourselves beyond what this world finds appropriate or acceptable. Ultimately, as well, finding Christ’s path is about loving others enough to reach for them in love, in service, just as He did so often. Salvation is about free will directed toward God, and free will is about reaching in that very same direction with one hand while reaching for others in love with the other hand. In a sense, we are called to be bridges connecting others to God.
Reaching is not about convenience or comfort. In fact, most of the time we reach, we are embracing discomfort and inconvenience, for a purpose we find more important than being comfortable or in a convenient position. In a sense, the only way we can “reach” Heaven is to “reach” out to others while always “reaching” out to Christ. In the simplest sense, salvation is ultimately about meeting Christ’s loving reach with our own and reaching out to others in love even when our reach may not always be a welcomed or expected one.
Copyright, 2012 Gabriel Garnica