“My Two-Year-Old Says, “Jesus Cookie”, By Karen Theckston, Fiat Ventures

Craig Pitelli for The TrentonMonitor.com

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

My two-and-a-half-year-old daughter is pretty great. She’s energetic, smart, brave, slightly manipulative and kind. She smiles and waves at everyone she sees at the store, is always trying to make her little brother laugh, loves giving hugs and holding hands and is starting to tell silly stories and describe everything she sees around her (on repeat). Our weekly conversation at Mass during the consecration goes something like this:

Me: “Look Ellie, it’s Jesus. Jesus loves you!”

Ellie: “Jesus?”

Me: “Yes Jesus!”

Ellie: “Oh look mama, Jesus cookie!” And then she proceeds to tell everyone around her about “Jesus cookie”.

After many months of live-streaming Mass and not being able to receive the Sacraments or attend Mass as normal, it’s been such a great blessing for my whole family to be going to Mass together, being a part of the physical Parish community again and receiving the Sacraments more often. Even if it means my one year old screaming though the homily, or my daughter yelling about seeing a picture of Mary or “Dada bird” (what she took away from me telling her about a painting of the Holy Spirit and The Trinity), I welcome these distractions if it means being at Mass together.

This week’s Gospel reminds us of the importance of community and the Sacraments – those visible signs of invisible realities of God’s grace coming to us. One of two stories of healing we hear this week is about a woman who has been suffering from a blood disease for twelve years. She is deemed unclean by society and is forced to live in isolation from others. This wasn’t just a painful disease she was dealing with, but one that separated her spiritually and physically from her community as well. The woman broke a society rule by being out and about in a crowd, and by reaching out to Jesus and touching His cloak the way she did. However, Jesus wasn’t afraid of her or her disease, he called out to her and said – “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” Jesus didn’t only restore her health; He also restored her connection to the community. He saved her from her illness as well as her isolation.

Jesus invites all of us to reach out to Him, the way the woman did, with whatever is separating us from the abundant life He has come to give us. Jesus isn’t afraid of our “disease” (read: sin), our past, mistakes or situations we found ourselves in. He wants to be invited into it! Jesus comes into the messiness of our lives, the hurt and brokenness, and wants to embrace us and help us heal. Jesus is calling us back to him. He wants to be physically present in our lives. To sit with us in Eucharistic Adoration, to encounter us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to fill our bodies, hearts and souls with the Eucharist.

My personal mission this week is to invite Jesus into my life in more ways and to somehow stop my daughter from saying “Jesus cookie” out of context. I’ll keep you posted!

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