4th Sunday of the year – Jan 29th 2012.
I visited a lady who was close to death. A few of us were around the bed, She said, ‘I want to go…is that ok? I’m ready for the journey’. Someone at the bedside then asked her what she had for breakfast! She had unwittingly introduced a taboo subject. The lady close to death then told us that she got to know God in later years. She had brought up two modern taboos - personal talk about God and death.
Every culture has its taboo subjects – the topics we don’t like to deal with seriously. In Jesus’ time an unclean sprit was a type of taboo – not to be spoken of. The person would be sent outside the city, like the leper. Jesus entered that taboo area, and healed it. It’s the same about the things we are ashamed of or we are afraid of.
Taboos today - death, old age, a child on drugs, a family member in prison, family suicide, a possible vocation to religious life, sexual abuse, and any topics you feel a deep unease comes over people when they are mentioned. Some more than others and some with one age group more than another,
There are no taboo topics with Jesus. God is bigger than any taboo. What he brings is love and compassion, with the grace of healing. Nothing you feel in any taboo area can be so dark that the light of Jesus cannot shine through.
We become more at ease with all of life when we are at ease with God. That’s what happened to the man of the gospel today and everyone around him. When real healing happens it’s told to everyone.
Donal Neary SJ.