“Mercy is the willingness to enter into the chaos of another.” – moral theologian James Keenan, SJ

Some years ago, I taught religion to sophomores – talk about entering into chaos! In all seriousness, they were curious, energetic, and thoughtful.

In exploring Jesus’ ministry, I asked, “What did Jesus do?”
“He saved people!”
“Ah. But how?”
“Because Jesus is God!”
“Yes… and what kinds of things did Jesus do that saved people?”
Hmm. This was harder to answer.

Today’s Gospel exemplifies how Jesus saves people. He liberates the woman from the spirit which cripples her by entering into her chaos. What did Jesus do for this woman? He SEES her, CALLS to her, SPEAKS to her, TOUCHES her. He does not “save” her from afar – he comes near, close enough to lay his hands on her.

Into what chaos of my life do I need to make room for God to enter?

—Lauren Hackman-Brooks is a Chaplain in University Ministry at Loyola University Chicago – Health Sciences Division; she serves on the Board of Directors at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House and the Advisory Board of Jesuit Connections.