February 15, 2012

Didn't your mother teach you not to do that?

Last Friday, and again today, we heard in the Gospel how Jesus healed, not just by speaking and touching the sick person but by using his spit.  Sounds kind of gross at first. After all spitting is disgusting and in some cities it illegal to spit on the ground or to spit at people. All good mothers teach their children not to spit. But then I thought of something my mother used to do, that is to use her spit to clean our faces.  It usually happened when we were on our way somewhere and our faces got dirty just before we arrived. Not wanting us to been seen with smudged faces, Mom would spit into a tissue or on her thumb and rub the smudge until it came clean.  I carried on the habit with my own kids, and I am sure many moms have done it throughout the ages and continue to do it.  It's an act of tenderness and of love. As kids we never thought of it as gross, although we might have winced a bit.  If you think about it, the mother is using something produced in her body to clean her child, and not worrying one bit about germs.

Jesus is doing the same thing. The saliva of the God/Man, a product of His Body, is used to make a sick person clean, to heal him of his blindness or inability to speak. Some scientists believe saliva has a natural disinfectant. We often lick a cut, and many in the animal kingdom (as anyone with cats knows), use their saliva to keep clean. Jesus uses it to allow the sick to see and hear their Savior.  It's an act of Love and tenderness.  I remember hearing that Jesus using His spit was the opposite of  Jesus being spit upon after His arrest.  He takes a negative insulting action and turns it into a positive healing action.  Jesus was good at doing exactly the opposite of what was expected. He healed on the Sabbath, He spoke to women, He touched and raised the dead, and He spit.

I was wondering if our Blessed Mother ever  used her spit to clean dirt of Jesus' face before they went rushing into the Temple or to visit relatives after a long donkey ride or walk.  I would bet she did. Maybe Jesus learned it from her.

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