Ken Rolheiser
Desperate for God’s touch but avoiding it

My Uncle Frank was a carpenter and passed on great wisdom to his hammer swinging nephews when he said, “Hit the nail on the head.” As a senior he was still up on the rooftop, close to heaven, swinging a hammer.

Father Brendan McGuire may make some of us uncomfortable with his accuracy in hitting the nail on the head when it comes to conversion. In his “Fear No One” homily he says, “For some of us, we fear actually the Lord himself. We fear that the Lord will do everything he says.

“It is not that we are afraid that he will not do it, but afraid that he actually will touch our hearts and transform us.”

And here is the catch as McGuire explains it, “Most of us like things the way we have them. We are not really here to change. We come to Mass on Sunday, but we don't want any change.

“We say: ‘I'm happy. I've got my spouse. I've got my kids. Everything is good. I got a job. Everything is going well. I'm not looking for change.’
But you see, the Lord is looking for change!”

McGuire is describing all of us sinners. Some of us do not go to church on Sunday morning. We say the same things: “I'm happy. I've got my spouse. I've got my kids. Everything is good. I got a job. Everything is going well. I'm not looking for change.”

But the Lord is looking to change us because of his great love for us. He will not quit. And it is for our own good, because he loves us and wants only the best for us.

If we are truly honest with ourselves, we feel that we are not worthy because of the “stuff” we’ve done. And we have dulled our consciences just enough so it doesn’t bother us much anymore.

But God has not stopped loving us. He has not given up on us. McGuire explains it further in his reflection: “The last fear is the most dominant effect in people's lives: the fear that I'm not worthy.

“We know we need the touch. We know we need it because we are broken. We can feel the pain. We can feel the suffering. We can feel the wounds.

“But we say: ‘No, Lord. I'm not worthy. Don't touch me. I cannot be the one you want to heal. Look at all the stuff I've done. I've done this. I've said that. I haven't done this. And I haven't done that.’ We say no, no. Not me.

“Yet we know inside our hearts we are desperate for God's touch. I'm not worthy because of my own merit. None of us are. We are worthy only because God has called us to this table. And because he has done that, he promised to heal every one of our wounds.”

Jesus speaks to us in Isaiah 43:1, “Fear not, I have redeemed you.” If Jesus were to meet us today he would greet us with, “Do not be afraid.” Don’t we get it? HE JUST WANTS TO MEET US!

And it is as easy as, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. I’m here, God.”

(551 words)