Friday, June 26, 2015

Transforming Touch

There are few images of sacred art more widely known and treasured than the “Hospitality of Abraham” by Andrei Rublev. The icon depicts the three heavenly visitors described in today’s first reading. The icon and the story that inspired it celebrate the unique and transformative relationship with God enjoyed by Abraham and Sarah. This very human story—with its elements of hospitality, a shared meal, laughter, and promise—reminds us that in those graced moments when the Divine breaks into our daily life, everything changes. This same truth is explored in the Gospel, as we hear about those whose lives were transformed by their encounters with Jesus.  

It can be easy to lose sight of the humanity and intimacy in these stories if we spend too much time analyzing and theologizing them. Doctrines such as the Trinity and the Incarnation can seem remote and abstract when weighed against the demands of daily life. After all, as St. Augustine said, the Kingdom of Heaven is “not just to be looked at but to be lived in.” Philosophy and theology can only take us so far, and intellectual exercises, no matter how noble, can never replace our personal encounters with God in Scripture, prayer, liturgy, and life.

Since the earliest days of the Church, Christians have brought together faith and reason in the search for Truth. However, this search has always been grounded in a relationship with God that has transformed the searcher. Like the stories in today’s Scriptures, the lives of history’s searchers and saints bear witness to God’s power breaking in and re-creating a person’s life, reminding us to be attentive to the ways God is present to us, day to day and moment to moment, because our lives also bear the imprint of God’s healing, transforming touch.

My reflection for Saturday, June 27, published in Give Us This Day by Liturgical Press.

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