1 Kings 11:29-32; 12-19
Signs (nonverbal expressions) often reveal something important on people’s faces and are a particularly valuable tool within our communication skills. We can read the signs on a person’s face if they are sad, happy, embarrassed, or angry. Symbolic actions are another way of communicating ‘deep down things’, which are also part of our language and can express multiple meanings. It is a truly human ‘gift’ to be able to interpret signs. This comes naturally to Indigenous people throughout the world.
In the first Reading, the newly appointed Prophet of Shiloh, while in conversation on the road with Jeroboam, acted out a striking SIGN by tearing his Cloak of Office into twelve strips…representing the twelve tribes of Israel….10 will be displaced as a consequence of Solomon’s infidelity.
In the Gospel, we see the ‘I am’ in the first reading, enabling an intercessory response within the ‘they’, whoever they were, in bringing a man to Jesus who was in great need! Their INSIGHT: seeing the saving hand of Jesus at work became the conduit for healing and wholeness in the man. Jesus quietly ‘touched’ the man, and with life-giving water (spittle), the man received new life through Jesus, the source of life.
In the first reading, we are called like Jeroboam to carefully read the signs of God’s constant invitation to ‘change our ways’ and pay for the consequences of ‘not listening and seeing.’
In the Gospel, our living faith calls us to be alert in taking people to Jesus in prayer and action. And those creative words will still be heard through us, the living Body of Christ: ‘Be opened! I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.’
Kevin Walsh is a priest in the Diocese of Parramatta in Sydney. He has been formed in the Passionist tradition and Ministers to the Aged, the Sick, the Dying and the Bereaved.