Daily Gospel Reflection for January 10, 2014

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Today’s Gospel: Luke 5:12-16

I entered the mostly darkened church at our parish in Estes Park, Colorado. There was enough light to see my way to the door of the sacristy, but not much more. This was a path I had traversed many times in both daytime and evening hours.

All of a sudden, I was aware of a body rising from the left aisle closest to windows. It scared the heck out of me because I truly thought there was no one in the silent church. 

It turned out that it was a woman who had a key to the church. She was a part-time sacristan and helper. She had been prostrate on the floor in the almost total darkness. We both were startled, but I will never forget that image of a person rising from prostration but not really alone. She was worshiping her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, present there even in darkness.

Quite often now when I stop to double genuflect before Jesus when I enter the church for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, I say to Jesus, “I would like to prostrate myself before you, but there are people here…and I don’t think many of them would understand.” And you know what? I haven’t been healed of some of the leprosy that I have in my life. 

In today’s Gospel, the leper prostrated himself before Jesus and then he pleaded with Him. “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” You may think that my point is that I or we need to be face down on the floor in total submission. And before I respond to that point, I’d like to remind us that every priest and deacon prostrates himself on the floor during his ordination Mass, in total submission to what he is about to promise and to accept. 

But, going back to the observation: “Deacon Tom, are you suggesting that I need to get on the floor, face-down, to ask for God’s healing in my life?” No, not exactly. I think that a lesson for us from today’s Gospel is not to hold back. Not to reserve any part of our process of asking the Lord for what it is we’re after. 

I have been a “student” of conversion stories over the last ten or more years. Whether in my own reading, viewing, or people I’ve interviewed for our Catholic Vitamins podcast, the majority of conversion and reversion stories reflect a change of heart in the converts. They go from worrying about what people may think or what God might ask of them, to saying “Lord, whatever you want, I accept. I may want a healing. But I prostrate myself to your most holy will. And, like Mary Your Mother, I ask for the grace to say YES.”

Ponder:

Do you confuse dignity and propriety with letting go of inhibitions before the Lord?

Pray:

Lord, help me to let myself be completely submissive to your will, even to prostrate myself if I feel the urge to do so.

Copyright 2014 Deacon Tom Fox

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About Author

Deacon Tom Fox and his wife Dee are co-hosts of the CATHOLIC VITAMINS Podcast for over 6 1/2 years. Tom has also been a member of the Catholic Mom columnists team for eight years, and was a regular contributor to the Catholic Moments Podcast for three years. Most recently, Deacon Tom has been leading a project to bring Catholic radio to the north central Arizona community where he and Dee reside. Blessings!

8 Comments

  1. That visual of prostrating ourselves before God…boy, does that speak to me. It is something I need reminded of over and over. Also reflecting on that line, at the end, where he went off to a deserted place to pray.

  2. Thank you for this, for the reminder to continually prostrate myself and to give it all to the Source of all light & goodness.

    This:
    “Lord, whatever you want, I accept. I may want a healing. But I prostrate myself to your most holy will. And, like Mary Your Mother, I ask for the grace to say YES.”

    “Yes!”

    Have a beautiful day.

  3. It was really the ultimate condescension when God became Man. It’s only fitting that we would prostrate ourselves before Him! What is it about our culture that struggles with this posture? Do we think it comes off as inauthentic and attention-seeking? I am always self-conscious with postures during Mass, especially since it’s more of a production with several kids in tow, and certain postures can make you stick out like a sore thumb. The last thing I want are eyes drawn to me instead of Him. We should fall flat on our faces in the presence of God! What are we so afraid of? Our body language during Mass sends a message about what we think of the Real Presence. Thank you for challenging us to consider this important question. We’ll have to consider our motivation with these postures, though. This passage says that Christ went off to a deserted place to pray. I suppose it all comes down to intent–are we compelled to fall on our faces to seek the admiration of others, or are we genuinely compelled to fall on our faces out of reverence and awe? This is one of the reasons I would love to see the Communion rail come back into practice. When everyone is kneeling to receive Christ in the Eucharist, there is no variation or distraction from those compelled to assume a reverent posture. Just the rumblings of a mama typing with one hand! Thank you for your reflection and food for thought!

  4. First, I am glad to know I’m not the only person to have startled someone when I ‘arise’ from the ground – trust me the person rising is just as startled esp. when you think you are alone with Jesus :)) Second, what a fabulous question to ponder – something I have NEVER given thought to!!

  5. To Sarah (who is doing so much work behind the scenes in all of this), and to Lisa and Catherine and Allison: how kind of you to take the time to comment on this reflection. I’d like to share this tidbit: I led a Communion Service at the parish this morning. At the end of it, I started Benediction and all-day Adoration for the parish. Afterwards, as I was ready to leave the church, I double-genuflected before Jesus… with head slightly bowed down, I told him that I wanted to prostrate myself before him, but I didn’t know who was behind me. I may have heard a voice saying, “Thank you. I love that you thought to let me know.” 🙂

  6. Fabulous, simple, direct! Thank you for this: ” I think that a lesson for us from today’s Gospel is not to hold back. Not to reserve any part of our process of asking the Lord for what it is we’re after. “

  7. Beautiful reflection.
    I often think that I want to be like Paul and be a “fool” for Christ. In other words, as your pondering question asked – I would like to let go of my inhibitions and express my love for Him. Sometimes I am able to do that.

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