Father Michael Barrow

From the parish of St Francis of Assisi

Aware Of The Touch Of God: A Sunday Gospel Reflection By Fr. Michael Barrow, SJ

Aware Of The Touch Of God: A Sunday Gospel Reflection                                 By Fr. Michael Barrow, SJ


Some years ago the BBC broadcast an interview with Carl Jung, the psychiatrist, already by then an old man. At one point the interviewer said to him, "When you were young, you were very religious." "Yes, we were all religious in those days." Then the interview asked "Do you still believe?" The old man paused for a little while and then said "No, now I know." In saying that he knew, he was obviously not talking of blind faith but recognising that he had had experience of God in his life. He was not referring to some extraordinary vision or anything like that, or he would have said so, but he was aware of something that he recognised deep within himself. And he knew clearly it was more than psychological.

Most of us at some time or other, have some experience of the touch of God, but are often hesitant to recognise it or accept it as such. "What me? God wouldn't be speaking to me – I'm not a saint." We do feel the touch of God but too often we fail to recognise it or respond to it.

It can come in different ways. Just occasionally, in fact quite rarely, you may have experienced in your life an overwhelming feeling of gratitude or of being loved, or something like that which seemed to come quite out of the blue for no particular reason. It can be quite powerful.

Sometimes, on the other hand, it is a feeling which is not so overwhelming but in a way that might move you to tears. It's very different from the effect of watching a weepy movie, and somehow you know clearly that it is something quite different. It may come from a religious experience, when you were praying or in church.Yet equally it may just be something which normally might be quite moving in itself, and yet you realise it is more than that. Trust that feeling. Trust yourself. Trust what is happening within you. God our Lord does come to us in this way.

Even more often his touch is "as gentle as silence". The touch of God can be so gentle that we easily miss it. It's not blind faith, not just accepting what religion tells me, but really an experience that I feel myself. Trust it and accept it from God.

It was recognising such experiences in his life that made Carl Jung say, "Now I know!"

To prepare for Sunday Mass it is a good idea to read and give thought to the readings in your missal or Bible. Here are some questions to ponder.
First Reading [Exodus 17:8-13] Could Moses have kept his hands raised (or "prayed constantly") without the help of his friends? Whom do you support spiritually? 
Second Reading [1 Timothy 3:14-4:22] Is it sometimes "inconvenient" to proclaim the word of God by being patient or convincing and encouraging? 
Gospel [Luke 18.1-8] What does Jesus' injunction, "Pray always … " mean to you? Do you think Jesus means only prayers of petition, asking for what you want? 
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