Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Jul 12, 2012 | Comments (0)

Pentecost VIII Mark 6:30-34, 50-54

"They begged him to let them touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed."

This parable is the difference between what you think rationally and how you think spiritually.

Rational thinking goes from the outside event to the inside experience of faith. Touch the garment and experience the Presence.

Spiritual thinking goes from the inside experience of faith to the outside event. Experience the Presence and touch the garment.

When one reads the scripture rationally, quite often only the main points are noticed. Many times the little ones get overlooked as unimportant. The rational has a hard time making connections with outside material because it centers completely on the written content.

The Spiritual connects easier with spiritual material, even if the scriptures do not seem to be connected rationally.

Rationally we see Jesus welcoming his apostles back from their mission.  All went well. They are so popular that crowds greet them wherever they go seeking healing. What you need is the power to heal and the crowds will follow you, too. You perceive that your problem is you only need more power to do ministry, end of story.

Wait a minute -- what about "they begged Him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched Him were healed." What is it with the cloak?

We can remember the past story of the woman touching the hem of His garment. Jesus called her out to explain not just to her or the crowd but mostly to His disciples. He is training them about the cloak. It is not the touching of the cloak that is doing the healing. It is their faith. That is the spiritual experience you are having before you touch the cloak.

After the resurrection, the cloak meant a lot to Peter. In John 21, he and the others are in a boat, fishing. A figure on shore asks if they have caught anything, "Nothing!" Cast your nets out on the deep side. They do and it happens. A whole slew of fish almost break the nets. "It is the Lord," John tells Peter. Peter immediately grabs his cloak and jumps onto the water. Why did he take the cloak?  Why not leave it there and get it when they boat comes back? The boat is not that far from shore according to John. It can at least be dry rather than soaking.

Peter took the cloak because it was the symbol of the apostles' ministry. They learned this meaning when Jesus sent them out to do ministry. They went with only sandals, a staff AND A CLOAK! When they came into the villages they were recognized not by who they were but by the style of the uniformed cloak.

In the lesson today Jesus was healing the people. Many wanted to touch His cloak. He could not keep telling them it was their faith. Let it happen. Why have apostles if it was not up to them to tell the people it was their faith that made them whole. Spirituality is not something you can teach. It cannot be explained rationally. It cannot be seen physically. It can only be pointed to and experienced.

It is the difference between the spiritual and the rational. The rational says you have to do something to get more faith. Grace says you do something because you have faith.

When the apostles asked Jesus for more faith, His answer was you have all the faith you need. After all, Jesus was with them.  All they needed to do was to consciously open their hearts to His Presence and Power. That is all we need to do as well. Matthew 17:20 As Jesus taught in Luke 11:2, "When you pray say 'our father'..." For Jesus, prayer was to be in the Presence. Saying prayers without the Presence is in vain. Matthew 15:8 It does not do you any good. Spiritually, we first get into the Presence to pray prayers. Rationally, we think we get into the Presence because we pray prayers.

It is like taking communion. Rationally, we think we take communion to receive the Presence of the Body and the Blood. Spiritually, we know we have the Presence of the Body and the Blood in us already. Rationally, if this is so then why take it? Spiritually, we take it to remind ourselves we are not always in the Presence. We take it in church to remind ourselves to consciously take it for the times we are not in church. In church is practice, out of church is reality.

Can you take communion now by opening your heart to sense the Presence of His Body and Spirit?

Yes comes only after we do it, not before.


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