A little over a month ago, several seminarians, priests, and lay faithful had the pleasure and privilege of taking a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and the trip was not like your standard trip (as if a trip to the king of the universe’s stomping grounds could ever be standard). Covid was still hanging in the air and test, after test, after test had to be taken so that we could travel. And there was that ubiquitous concern of getting Covid while we were traveling that served as a constant companion. And yet, through all the tests, all the concerns, anxieties, and what-if scenarios that played out in our minds and conversations, more constant than all of that, was the grace of God at work in and around us.
One moment that stood out for me was in the town of Magdala. Well-known throughout history because of Mary Magdalene, Magdala, archeologically speaking, is a baby of a site, as it had only been discovered in 2009. It was there that I had a beautiful encounter with the Lord. There is a chapel in the lower section of the church, and on the wall behind the altar, there is a painting, though it is not your typical religious painting. The painting is a depiction of the woman with hemorrhages being healed, but more specifically it is the moment when she touches the hem of Jesus’ cloak, because she had said to herself, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Mark 5:28. The painting fixates on that moment; no faces, just an arm reaching through a bunch of legs. Now, I was fortunate to say mass for our group at this site and during the homily I looked back at the painting and the tears came, and they would not stop. How often do we come up with reasons to stay away from Jesus? There is too much standing in the way; too much keeping me from reaching out so that I may be healed. Friends, Jesus is so desperate to bring mercy and healing into our lives. He wants nothing more than for us to reach out. Reach out for him brothers and sisters, be bold, do not be afraid, and do not be discouraged by what you may find blocking your path to Jesus. Reach out and know the healing power of Christ.
Fr. Andy Syberg is currently the Vice Rector of Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary. He was ordained a priest in 2015 and joined the seminary staff in 2017. He traveled with Tekton Ministries on a pilgrimage with the seminary in May, 2022.