ARE YOU CONTAGIOUS?
As I was walking through a hospital the other day I saw a notice posted in several places including the elevator. The gist of it was that in order to protect patients from unnecessary exposure to illnesses brought in from outside by visitors, the hospital’s administration was asking people not to visit the hospital if they had any of a list of symptoms including sore throat, fever, and other flu-like symptoms.
That morning I’d been meditating on Matthew 14:35-36:
An interesting note on this passage in the Jerusalem Bible (French edition) says, “Once more the power radiating from Jesus points up the contagious character of the Kingdom that he is bringing about.”
I spent some time considering “the contagious character of the Kingdom.” Although the word “contagious” usually has a negative feel (some exceptions are contagious laughter and perhaps yawning), the “contagious character of the Kingdom” is worth thinking about.
THE CONTAGIOUS KINGDOM
As a priest I have the opportunity to spread the Gospel by literally preaching to people, but I’d like to think that most of my own spreading of the Kingdom results from contact – call it the “Typhoid Mary” effect. I’d like to think that the many students who have sat in my classroom over the years have caught the Kingdom simply by my tone of voice, by my patience and my cheerful manner. (Yikes! I hope that's not overly wishful thinking!) I’d like to think that I’ve spread a little of the Kingdom to people who have just casually met me in a department store or on a downtown street.
Unlike typhoid, the Contagious Kingdom can even be spread electronically: by telephone and texting, by blogs and websites, by television and radio and countless other methods.
So how come the Kingdom hasn’t become an epidemic? I suppose that in many ways it actually has, but for the sake of argument let's say that the world could use a Kingdom epidemic -- or even a pandemic. It’s obvious where it all has to start, right? With you and with me as individuals. Typhoid Mary was once called “a one-woman epidemic.” So why not try being a one-woman epidemic or a one-man epidemic yourself? Go ahead and see how many people you can infect with the Kingdom in the next 24 hours.
KNOW THE SYMPTOMS !
If you think that you have any of these symptoms, please go out immediately and try to infect as many people as possible!