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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Forgotten Fathers: Waiting Room Men in an Abortion Clinic

No One Speaks About the Unspeakable Injustice that One Word, “Choice,” Inflicts on the “Choiceless” — the Fathers of Children Killed in Abortion

“The baby does not know it is trapped in a life and death struggle of motherhood and waiting on Jonah, who is busy running away from fatherhood and now, finding himself trapped in the belly of a Whale, is praying for a second chance that might not come again. We ask ourselves, ‘will the baby push out naturally and so be allowed to live through a mother’s grace to enjoy a proper birthday?’ Or will it be abandoned by its parents to die and be surgically removed from its mother by strangers with forceps; given its own death-day written up as a statistic without a name only to be remembered each year by two forlorn and guilty parents?”  (Father X in Troubadours Sailing Hibiscus Seas: Meditations on Post Abortion Trauma)

by Susan Fox  

Party shoes hung forlornly By the Window
The Lily is the traditional symbol of innocence.
In the left hand corner, it is 
smeared by a bloody hand.
The emptiness after abortion
 by Judith Gait.
Two forlorn and guilty parents? 

I thought abortion was about a woman’s choice. It has nothing to do with men, does it?

Father X, a British father of an aborted baby, and Judith Gait, an American  pro-life artist living in England, rip that idea to shreds in Troubadours Sailing Hibiscus Seas: Meditations on Post Abortion Trauma.   It is a literary, artistic work charting the emotional journey of a father, whose girlfriend decided to have an abortion even though he pleaded for the child's life. Hibiscus flower tea is an abortifacient, but the father in this scenario is writing a love song to his dead child. He is the troubadour. 

The troubadour’s anguish and regret bleeds through the pages, demonstrating that our society has plunged into the utter depths of barbarism, especially in our attitude to human fathers. Most cave men — faithful to their wives —  enjoyed raising their own children. 

Modern men must cope with “choice,” something they are completely denied in an abortion, leaving them emasculated with a loss of masculine identity. They are not allowed to act on their healthy instinct to protect their family, according to Men and Abortion: Psychological Effects by Catherine T. Coyle, RN, PhD.    

Their angst is based on reality. In the United States, the husband has no legal right to be notified — let alone stop — his wife from obtaining an abortion. Our so-called “Supreme” Court decided that. 

Being men, they may not talk about it. But Dr. Coyle and other researchers find they are just as likely as women to suffer post-traumatic stress syndrome — with symptoms that may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

Males may be at greater risk for depression than females post abortion. Researcher Brenda Majors and colleagues at  State University of New York at Buffalo, studying couples prior to an abortion, found males were more likely than females to blame the pregnancy on their own character. Self-character blame has been associated with increased risk for depression.

Some attempt to abort their own lives, committing suicide and some suffer impotence post-abortion. Even if they want the abortion, their child’s sudden death can haunt them their entire lives, wrecking future relationships and marriages. Father X remains an older bachelor caring for his mother. For him, his dream of  having a family died with his child. The vast majority of men in these studies say they have been left with lingering and disturbing thoughts. In one study reported by Dr. Coyle, 82 percent of men said they suffered from depression afterwards.

The studies on men are not nearly as systematic or thorough as the ones on women post abortion, but the results are almost identical. Abortion and Women’s Health — conducted by medical researcher Dr. Gregory Pike — is an evidence based review of the impact of abortion on women released in 2017.

It found that after an abortion 
  1. Women suffer a 30 percent increased risk of depression. 
  2. They are more likely to die from any cause vs. childbirth.
  3. Abortion is associated with higher death rates for women up to 10 years after. 
  4. Women experienced mental health disorders 30 percent more often than women who did not have an abortion, 
  5. In subsequent pregnancies, women are likely to suffer depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  6. Women have a higher risk of psychiatric admission compared to women who keep their babies, 
  7. Women are at risk of hospital admission, blood transfusion, emergency room treatment, administration of IV antibiotics and infection.  

With women facing all that in an abortion, who can question that the men quietly sitting in the waiting room are suffering as well?

“Meanwhile in a parent’s mind certain things can trigger the phenomenon of what is known as abortion aftershock,” Father X said, “setting off alarm bells in the heart, much like cue cravings do for an addict. The sight of a family out for a stroll, pushing a pram on a sunny afternoon can do it, so can seeing a pregnant woman in full bloom or a look of joy on a child’s face. Any one of a hundred other common sights can set off the Abortion Remorse Orchestra going off in the heart. The musicians always play the same tune, the death knell…”

Judith’s artwork, which relies on ordinary household items to portray an uneasy reality, accompanies Father X in his memories of the event, which occurred on Nov 8, 2011.
The Anniversary Bouquet by Judith Gait 
One of my favourite pictures is the Anniversary Bouquet, showing the anniversary of the death of Father X’s child. A child’s pyjamas are pinned to a wall while the dark shadow of a flower covers it. The picture distressingly expresses the feeling that something is starkly missing. Someone is not there who should be on the anniversary celebrated in his or her honour.

“St Augustine tells us that prayer is like silent shouting,” Gait said. “Sometimes the same could be said about drawing. If it is to be any use, it needs to be as intense as the shout which has its origin deep within our soul.” Her paintings silently shout about the emptiness men and women feel after an abortion.

The love affair had hardly begun when the baby was conceived on a weekend getaway in  the English Lake District. Father X called it a “area of outstanding natural beauty and one of the most picturesque areas in England.” It wasn’t planned. His girlfriend used birth control. Ironically, they visited the home of the famed children’s author, Beatrix Potter. “Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and 
their names were – Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter,” 
begins the British tale of a disobedient little rabbit, who
Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail & Peter
sneaks into Mr McGregor’s garden. This is a place — his widowed mother warns — where Peter’s father had a distressing accident. Perhaps the shadow of that event followed Father X out of the Lake District. But his “future bride” failed to heed the message.

Four weeks later, the lady he loved was pregnant. At first she was delighted and willing to let nature take its course. Father X, who had been thinking of marriage, promised to support her and the child, but because of “fear and insecurity on her part, the expected congratulations .. suddenly turned into commiserations of sadness and mistaken folly,” he wrote.

“It was her wedding white dress, my sea green empress, this blue lagoon princess, she slipped into her own heart of darkness on that day she decided to abort,” Fr. X said. Judith shows these emotions with an image of a dark blue vase containing an upside down flower. It is the only flower in focus and in its natural colour. Everything else is black. “It represents the child who is already in the birth position, head down and waiting to be born,” Father X wrote. 

Speaking to future parents, Father X writes, “So long as you
Already in the birth position
Blue Vase by Judith Gait
waver like Jonah in the face of responsibility and lack both the fortitude and faith of a mother and father to do what is right for their child, you will be offered an abortion by a well meaning doctor from the NHS (British Health Service) He referred to the fact that the Prophet Jonah initially refused God’s call to preach to the Ninevites. He was swallowed  by a whale, and then spit out on the shore near Nineveh after three day’s, now ready to complete his mission.

Just days before the abortion, she came to stay with Father X. “She was scared and was in that twilight world of wavering and indecision. She admitted she felt growing warmth towards the baby. I also felt paternal instinct in me for the first time in my life: it felt very different from anything else I had felt. I put my hand on her tummy and we both felt very close for a moment…I might add she also looked very beautiful and radiant…motherhood suited her. But the devil had gotten into her with fear of financial insecurity and just plain self will.” 

“I spoke to her on the morning of the abortion,” Father X continues his family’s story, “and found myself pleading for the baby’s life. All gone now was the political correctness of it being her choice, her body, her life, it was all raw emotion and a father’s natural instinct of wanting to protect his child.”

But she had grabbed Thor’s hammer. In Judith’s paintings the hammer is the image for the abortion decision. It is Thor’s hammer in a death grip and the hammer of St. Joseph when one rejects the abortion, and builds a life for one’s family. On the way into the abortion clinic she was distressed to meet 
The hammer of decision by Judith Gait
pro-life demonstrators. Then she was left alone in the abortion clinic for one hour before the procedure, and she began to panic and called Father X. “I told her to get up and leave.” But she did not.

“What will the condemned baby experience before the hammer blow of abortion happens?” Father X asks. “It will witness an unknown foe dressed in a doctor’s smock and a surgical mask. The child will only feel that last stab of pain…It is done, the boulder of innocence has been scraped. The empty womb. The bird has flown. Lark ascending.”

Three lives ruined. Both parents were in their 40s.

Breakfast for One by Judith Gait
“For the next several months that we stayed together it wasn’t mentioned, not by me and not by her. Nevertheless it was like an elephant in the sitting room the whole time,” Father X said. 

Judith’s Painting, “Breakfast for One,” reflects the life of Father X now. “I sit alone each morning at breakfast and bury my loneliness in the morning ritual of coffee, cereal, tea and toast. Now when we occasionally do meet, we pass each other in the street like strangers with barely an uncomfortable second glance. Both of us hurrying by and trying to get away from the guilty secret we now hold together.” 

Sociologist Arthur Shostak (Abortion & Men: Lessons, Losses & Lovedescribes male abortion pain as the loss of fatherhood and a “wound you cannot see or feel, but it exists.” The man gets an incredible message. There is real evidence of his virility. His partner is pregnant and he is going to be a father! But then he is told the termination will cost $560.  

Shostak interviewed 1000 men and found that 
  1. Abortion is a “death experience.” 
  2. Their most common post-abortion reaction was helplessness.
  3. Men, who are unable to mourn the abortion, learn how to be less nurturing parents in the future.
  4. The majority of relationships failed post-abortion.
So what is killed is not just a child, but a family. 

“Unfortunately, it is a fact that, especially in the West, the family is considered an obsolete institution,” Pope Francis told members of the diplomatic corps of the Holy See on Jan 8. “Today fleeting relationships are preferred to the stability of
a definitive life project. But a house built on the sand of frail 
Pope Francis addresses the diplomatic corps on Jan. 8
and fickle relationships cannot stand,” he added, describing marriage as the rock: “that faithful and indissoluble communion of love that joins man and woman, a communion that has an austere and simple beauty, a sacred and inviolable character and a natural role in the social order.”

In an abortion, sensitive men who try and show support by accepting the woman’s decision are often rejected later for not standing up for the their child. “How could you say nothing during this crisis and let me just go out and kill our child?” These forgotten fathers have to deal with double grief — the loss of their child and the loss of their relationship with their children’s mothers, according to “The Effects of Abortion on Men: its Emotional, Psychological and Relational Impact” on CatholicCulture.org by Vincent Rue and Cynthia Tellefsen.

Men who positively pressure women into having an abortion will face a great emotional price when the reality of the  abortion is sinks in. Pope Saint John Paul II said, “by leaving her alone to face the problems of pregnancy, he indirectly encourages such a decision on her part (to abort).” (Mulieris Dignitatem)  He adds, “In this way the family is thus mortally wounded and profaned in its nature as a community of love and in its vocation to be the sanctuary of life.” (The Gospel of Life)

“Abortion rewrites the rules of masculinity,” authors Rue and Tellefsen said. “While a male is expected to be strong, abortion makes him feel weak. A male is expected to be responsible, yet abortion encourages him to act without concern for the innocent. A male is expected to protect, but by law he is encouraged to do otherwise.”

“It is clear that in addition to the other victims of abortion, men too suffer. They too pay a high price for reproductive ‘freedom.’ They too lose in the high stakes world of reproductive ‘choice’ guided only by the self and expediency. Killing hurts the living too. It knows no gender bias,” Rue and Tellefsen concluded.

I highly recommend Troubadours Sailing Hibiscus Seas. Author Father X obviously comes from a Catholic background, but the book is full of unorthodox Catholic 
Prolife Artist Judith Gait
positions as he grabs for images from Hinduism, Platonism, and pantheism to explain his feelings. Judith Gait is Catholic, the mother of five children, but she also uses unorthodox 
images. The work, however, is catholic in the sense that it is human and universal. It is an act of reparation. Many will decide not to have an abortion after reading it.

“The Valkyries  (choosers of the slain) hold the key to the future. The embryo is alive from the moment of Conception. It is an Olympian role model and has exceptional durability. In the world of competitive sport, sperm racing comes out in a league of its own, with over 270 million contestants present at each jet race of love. But only one tad of sperm can be the winner and fertilise the Egg of Life. The Valkyries of Thor, who finally decide to abort, will take away a little life and spoil the mating game in one bold toilet flush.” 

Yes, Father X, that is the reality of human life. 

Because of the so-called illusory freedom of female “choice,” in the West, our civilisations faces a demographic winter in which our populations will not replenish themselves. How ironic, Hawaii had a false nuclear alert on Jan. 13 that made 
everyone fear their life was over. Parents sent their children into drain pipes. That wasn’t a pleasant experience. And Hawaii has my deepest sympathy. But drip drop. The real holocaust is silent and slow, and we are causing it ourselves.  We are destroying our civilisation slowly one child at a time. 

Pope Francis nailed it on Jan. 8: “Disregard for families has another dramatic effect – namely, a decline in the birth rate. We are experiencing a true demographic winter! This is a sign of societies that struggle to face the challenges of the present, and thus become ever more fearful of the future, with the result that they close in on themselves.”

“Whether to terminate a child or not: decisions which are often made in fear and confusion and yet usually are paid for in a lifetime of regret.” (Father X)
Career or children? by Judith Gait
"With my partner there was lots of excuses but no compelling reason to have an abortion." (Father X) 

This poem was written by a young single man whose girlfriend decided to have an abortion without consulting him.
Please tell me about our child. 
Don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it. 
I know it’s been on your mind a lot. 
So tell me. 
I need to know. 
Was our baby a little boy or a little girl? 
What would he have looked like? 
Would she have smiled when you held her to your breast? 
Would she have reached out with tiny hands with that warmth in her eyes, 
that comes from knowing that she was safe and loved? 
How much did she weigh? 
Was carrying her all that hard as you both grew larger and larger? 
Did you feel full again and alive, like a woman? 
What color was her hair, her eyes? 
Did she kick inside you? 
Don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it. 
I know you have. 
I know it’s probably been on your mind a lot since then. 
So please tell me. 
I need to know. 
I need to know because I am a man and I have thought about it a lot. 
Every day.
Since before you left me. 
And I know that if our baby’s going away has torn out of me as much as it has, 
it tore out of you, too, only more. 
She was inside of you. 
And she was torn out. 
I know that what I say is true. 
So please don’t deny that. 
I need to know. 
And so do you. 

To order Troubadours Sailing HIbiscus Seas: 


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Epiphany! The Light has Come into the World

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
Epiphany of the Lord, Jan 7, 2018
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Tucson, AZ

Today we come to the end of the Christmas
season. The Feast of Epiphany calls us to keep our eyes focused on the Light that has come into our world through the manifestation of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Epiphany means "a moment of sudden revelation or insight." So we can see today’s Gospel message as the revelation of the Kingdom of God in our world. Our Lord came as a small baby, the Incarnation of God and the K
ing of the new world to come.

At His first coming,supernatural signs accompanied His presence. In the Gospel of Luke we hear that a host of angels appear to shepherds in the fields to point the way to this newborn King. They dance in the sky proclaiming “Glory to God in the Highest and peace to His people on earth.”

In today’s Gospel (Matt 2:1-12), there is a supernatural sign in the manifestation of a star. We hear of the Magi or so called “wise men” who were astrologers. Although these
men were considered pagans, their hearts were open to the revelation given through the prophets of old that a deliverer would at some time in history be born in Bethlehem which is the ancestral home of King David.

We hear of this prophecy in today’s first reading from Isaiah who says, “Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you… Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance… Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.”

This prophecy from Isaiah is fulfilled in today’s Gospel when the Magi come to worship the Infant Christ. They honour Baby Jesus and do Him homage, bringing gifts of frankincense and gold. These two gifts had a spiritual meaning: the gold represented the symbol of Our Lord’s kingship and the frankincense, or  perfume, represented the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yet, there was a third gift the Magi brought -- myrrh. This third gift is associated with Jesus's death, necessary for the fulfilment of the Kingdom of God.  It is when Our Lord comes the second time that His kingdom will be established in its fullness. Then the prophecy of today’s first reading (Isaiah 60:1-6)will be fulfilled:  “Nations shall walk by [His] light, and kings by [His] shining radiance.”

My brothers and sisters, as we celebrate today’s Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ, let us rejoice because we have a King and Saviour! Let us praise God for the light of His Kingdom that has come upon the darkness of the earth.

Let us be reminded, however, that as we wait,  we are truly in a battle. While today’s Gospel focuses on the Magi, we learn of another individual who also wanted to be led to our Lord Jesus Christ. This is King Herod. The Magi could see the star of Our Lord, but King Herod could not. Herod could not see past his own selfish desires for power and control. For, the same child honoured by the Magi, Herod sought to kill. We are reminded that until Our Lord comes again, we are locked in a spiritual battle between the light of Christ and the darkness of evil.

My brothers and sisters, let us open our hearts to the revelation of Our Lord Jesus
Fr. John Paul Shea
Christ, the Light of the world. He has come to save us from our sins. He has come to establish the kingdom of His Father.

In the meantime, be strong in your faith. Faith is the guiding star that leads us into the kingdom. 

Our Blessed Mother will help us. She too is a guiding star. If we devote ourselves to Mary, she always leads us to Her Son. She points
us in the right direction. Call upon the protection of Our Blessed Mother! She is there for our conversion and repentance. She -- the Mother waiting at the foot of the cross -- asks us to pray the Rosary for souls that might be lost.

As we celebrate the Epiphany in this New Year of 2018, let us focus our hearts on the light of Christ because we have been given the gift of salvation. Let us be led by His star of Truth. “For darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon [us] the LORD shines.”  Stand firm in your faith.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Touch Me

by Lawrence Fox

The “children (were)  being brought to Jesus so that He might touch them.” (Mk. 10:13).

“Where in the Old Testament is there an example of multiple children being brought to a patriarch, holy man, prophet, or rabbi so that he might simply touch them?” The homilist’s question was insightful. Let’s consider the request “that He might touch them” and more specifically the action verb “to touch” as it relates to man’s desire to experience the
presence of God through the senses. 

"Now show me your glory.” Moses desired “to see” the face of God. The Lord answered, “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” (Ex. 33:18 & 20) Man passionately wants to experience God with his whole nature. In fact we are told to love the LORD, our God,  with our whole heart and our whole soul and our whole strength. (Deut. 6:5) 

This is because man’s knowledge begins in and through the senses. Man  abstractly understands the “form” of things in nature without taking the actual material into his
mind. He sees a rock, recognises it, but the rock is not physically taken into man.  This is evidence of that man is a spiritual being. He has a rational soul.

Man’s experience of things outside himself begins with his senses. We are not  born with innate knowledge (as taught by the Platonists). We observe reality through the senses and see that nature over and over again pursues a destiny of perfection. This enables man to reason that he himself has a destination (perfection). But man’s desire for perfection is insatiable leading to the reasonable conclusion that man’s perfection is not rooted in the corporeal realm but in the cause of all being. This desire for the source of all being leads to the Person of Jesus Christ.  

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched, this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.” (1 Jn. 1:1)  So the Apostle John shows that faith in Jesus Christ builds upon the testimony of holy men and women who saw Him, heard Him, touched Him, ate with Him and “recognised Him in the breaking of the bread.” (Acts. 24:35) This is in keeping with man’s knowledge of reality beginning in the senses.

St. Thomas’ profession of faith “My Lord and my God” flows from a request to touch the wounds of Christ. “Then Jesus said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting
and believe.”
(Jn. 20:27) Thomas’ desire to touch the wounds of Christ is a complementary movement of the heart as Moses’ desire to see the face of God. 

Thomas is looking for something tangible so as to see with the eyes of faith. He reasons to faith while other’s assent to faith without seeing. The intellect of both remain in the state of inquiry until the end is reached (i.e. the beatific vision). Moses on the other hand wants to see, so as to increase what is seen with the eyes of faith. Thomas saw the man once dead and now alive, and so he believed saying, “My Lord and My God.” His human senses enlightened his intellect which moved the will to make an act of Faith about that which “eye has not seen, and ear has not heard....” (John 20:28)  Let us not fault Thomas. All men desire to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell the things of God; which is why God became man and dwelt among men.

Now we look at touch in the Gospel of Mark. Mark exposes  the reality of the need to touch God. He uses the word “to touch” (hapsētai) four times within the Gospel. The first is to identify the reason people were bringing their children to Jesus. A person reading these words may sometimes miss what is being made obvious. Like Moses, the people of God want to see and touch the things of God. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8) and again, “Phillip if you have seen me you have seen the Father.” (John 14:9) Why is there this rush to see and be touched by Jesus?

Mark, a couple of chapters earlier in the Gospel identifies people in the village of Bethsaida, “...as bringing forward and begging Jesus to touch a blind man.” (Mk. 8:22) This
pattern of touching is repeated again when Mark identifies a woman -- subject to bleeding for twelve years -- touching Jesus’ clothing, “When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his
clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. (Mark 5:25-29)

When the authors of Sacred Scripture repeat a word, theme, or event, the reader is being called to attention. For Mark the expression “to touch” testifies to the Incarnation of Jesus Christ; God’s Word became flesh and blood and was therefore not a bodiless Gnostic demiurge. As Moses wanted to see the face of God, the people want their children to be touched by Jesus expressing ever so deeply that the flesh of Christ is a cause for belief, a means for healing, a source of consolation and sanctification, and an opportunity for man to worship God in Spirit and Truth (Jn. 4:24) “To you all flesh will come with its burden of sin; too heavy for us our offences but you wipe them away.” (Ps. 64 [65]) Jesus obliges man’s request since,  this desire between God and man “to touch” is rooted in our creation. 

In the Old Testament, God Touches Man. Jeremiah the prophet writes, “Then the LORD stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and said to me, ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.’” (Jer. 1: 9) Jeremiah receives his prophetic vocation as a result of being touched by the hand of God. God speaking through Jeremiah tells the people of Judah that He will establish with them a new covenant, “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah...”(Jer. 31:31-34) When Jeremiah spoke these words, the house of Israel was removed from the Holy Land by the Assyrians (721 BC) and the house of Judah was soon be taken into captivity by the Babylonian Empire (597 - 581 BC). Israel’s and Judah’s restoration would be a miraculous manifestation. God’s new covenant with humanity including  the restoration of Israel and Judah would be manifested miraculously with the touch of God’s hands, “And Jesus took bread (with his sacred hands), gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you...” (Lk.22:19-22) To be touched by Jesus is to partake in God’s presence and holiness; this is true even for the most simple things in nature. 

In Old Testament, the profane is made sacred by touching the sacred. The laws and ordinances of Moses incorporated numerous instructions on ritual cleanliness and uncleanliness -- again what could be touched and not touched. (Leviticus 5:2-3, 12:4, 22:4-6) Sacred Scripture reveals that vessels dedicated for worship and which touched the altar of sacrifice were made holy, ”For seven days you shall make atonement for the altar and consecrate it; then the altar shall be most holy, and whatever touches the altar shall be holy.” (Num. 4:15, Ex. 29:37) 

Peter identified Jesus as God’s Holy One, “We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (Jn. 6:69) Paul describes the people of God as earthen vessels who received a tremendous and precious blessing from God. (2 Cor. 4.7) Paul has in mind the image from the Old Testament in which things touched to sacred things become sacred things. Being touched by God and the things of God bring about healing, forgiveness, blessing, and sacredness. For example in the Book of Kings, there is the story about some Israelites
burying a man and when suddenly seeing a band of raiders they throw the man's dead body into Elisha's tomb. When the body touched Elisha's bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet. (2 Kings 13:21) Elisha it should be remembered received a double portion of the Holy Spirit, who sanctifies all things. In fact, Elisha’s body was so anointed with the Holy Spirit that even his dead bones healed. But the touching of holy things not only brings healing; it brings forgiveness.

In the Old Testament, forgiveness and blessing are conveyed by touch. The Prophet Isaiah’s lips were touched by a flaming ember taken from the altar in heaven and he was made clean, “With it the (Seraphim) touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” (Isaiah. 6:7) The prophet Daniel -- while in exile in Babylon with his people -- received a vision of the Son of Man coming to him and touching his lips, “And behold, one who resembled a Son of Man was touching my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke...” (Dan. 10:16) Who is this Son of Man which places a word within the mouth of Daniel? 

Jesus who is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8 ) is that Son of Man who touches the lips of Daniel the Prophet.  Here in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is the Son of Man who is now extending his hands so as to touch the children in the land of Judah. Jesus continually identified Himself in the Gospels as the Son of Man. (Matt. 8:20; Mk. 2:10, 14:21; Lk. 7:34; Jn. 1:51) 

Jesus is something greater than the Prophet Ezekiel who is constantly identified by the Lord God as “son of man.” The High Priest Caiphas demands that Jesus identify Himself to the Sanhedrin, “Are You the Christ, the Son
Event that occurred 66 A.D. recorded by Jewish historians.
A heavenly army was seen coming against Jerusalem
at the beginning of the siege by Rome that would end
in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
of the Blessed One?”
Jesus replies, “I am,” adding, “and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” At this, the high priest tore his clothes and declared, “Why do we need any more witnesses? 

Being touched by the holy things of God imparts a blessing upon a person seeking the face of God. It should be noted all three Synoptic Gospels recount the story of the woman, who suffered with bleeding for twelve years, as being miraculously healed by simply “touching” the tassels of Jesus’ garment. The
sacred authors write, “She came up behind him and touched the edge (tassels) of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.” (Lk. 8:44, Mt.9:20)

The people of Judah bring their children to Jesus so that He might touch them; so that the children may become sanctified and prophetic like Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Daniel. The people of Judah bring their children to Jesus so that He might touch them so that they would able to look upon the face of God, like the blind man in Bethsaida and be made clean like the haemorrhaging woman. The people bring their children to Jesus (the son of Man) so that they -- as earthen vessels -- may be made holy and sanctified to live as vessels upon God’s Holy Altar. 

In response to the faith of the people, Jesus blesses their children, repeating something which happened earlier in His life as an infant when He Himself was touched by created man. 

Luke writes in the Gospel, “When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him (Jesus as an infant) to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.” (Lk. 2:12)  They are immediately met by the holy man Simeon, who is identified as righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel and the Holy Spirit leads him to Mary and Joseph bringing the infant Jesus into the temple. Simeon takes the infant (brephē) Jesus into his arms and
praises God.  Some thirty years later, things are turned around. Jesus as the Messiah is greater than the righteous Simeon because in Jesus is the fullness of consolation. Luke by identifying the word infant (brephē) reverses the infancy narrative. This time people are coming down from Jerusalem and presenting their children and infants (brephē) to Jesus Christ (of Nazareth). Like with Simeon, the Holy Spirit now draws people with their infants to Jesus who takes the infants into His arms. Jesus who was identified by Simeon as being the cause of men rising and falling in Israel — seeing the movement of the Holy Spirit — now touches the infants so they may rise and not fall; He has become a father to the children of Judah. One of Jesus’ prophetic names is Everlasting Father. He is the Father of All Nations. 

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And
Everlasting Father 
 he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) In the Old Testament, the father of the family blessed his children, giving especially his firstborn son the blessing of inheritance. In Christ Jesus, everyone becomes an adopted first-born child of the Father. Jesus identifies his disciples as “children” in the Gospel of John. (Jn 21:5) The placement of hands by the patriarchs upon their children was an outward sign of paternal authority and the bestowing of earthly blessings. Jesus placing his hands upon the children and infants was fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah which identified the Messiah as the Everlasting Father, "As for me, this is my covenant with them," says the LORD. "My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants--from this time on and forever," says the LORD.” (Is. 59:21) It is Jesus who gives to every generation the promise, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (Jn 14:3) Jesus blessing the children in the land of Judah points to Psalm 147 which states, “O praise the Lord Jerusalem! Sion praise your God! He has strengthened the bars of your gates, He has blessed the children within you...” Jesus’ touch is sacramental. We partake in the things of God by touch. 

When the apostles saw the people bring the children to be touched by Jesus, they attempted to mitigate the situation. Jesus was not pleased with their behavior and said, “Let the little ones come to me; the Kingdom of God was made for such little ones.” Jesus told Nicodemus that a man could not enter the Kingdom of God unless he was born from above. Jesus by His words and
deeds enables the Church to understand that the gift of the Holy Spirit as received in Baptism belongs to believers and their children and infants.

Jesus command his apostles, to “Baptize all nations...” and on Pentecost, Peter tells the people that the gift of the Holy Spirit is for them and their children,“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise belongs to you and to your children and to all who are far off, to all whom the Lord our God will call to Himself.” (Acts 2:39) Each child baptized by the Church fulfills the prophecy about the name of Jesus, “Father of the world to come.” 

Moses commands the people of Israel to “Love the LORD your God with all their heart and with all their soul and with all their strength.” 

Man’s knowledge of God begins with the senses and in the fullness of time God became flesh to so that all God’s children might be touched by Him.