Wednesday, April 3, 2013

4th day of the Octave

As another reminder that God's time is not our time. Christmas and Easter are celebrated as octaves, eight day treated as one. The eight day for Christians is a symbol that Christ God has done something radically new. The old creation was 7 days, Jesus established the eighth.

In today's gospel we have the famous encounter with the Apostles in which Peter lifts up the the man who has been "crippled since his mother's womb." What is interesting is Luke specifies that he took him by the right hand and and raised him up. The verb here can also mean to awaken some, as from sleep.

The great challenge often is to know which is the right hand. We see the man begging on the street corner and we aren't sure what to do. The easiest thing is to simply excuse ourselves by saying things like, "he'll just spend it on booze." With the severely disabled the hard truth is we are often simply uncomfortable and don't know how to approach, whether or not to offer assistance. How often in our uncertainly do we simply do nothing.

In order for Peter to take him by the right hand and raise him up, he had to first, get close to the man, extend his hand toward him, and touch him. That is often the hardest part. Our sense of "personal space", ours as well as the other persons, make us reluctant to approach and nervous when approached.

Perhaps the first step is seeing the shared humanity of the other, truly coming to understand them not as the stranger but as brother or sister.