Turn, O Israel, to the Lord your God. Hosea 14:2
The simple statement to turn to God occurs 37 times in SS! The word in Hebrew is suv! It is used 1050 times! It means to turn or to face. Often it is translated by repent. In its simplicity it carries a wonderful digest of the whole spiritual life. The Lord is the sun to which we turn to face for our growth. It is an amazing thing to see acres of Sunflowers in Kansas facing and following the sun as it moves from east to west. To grow and flower we must bask in the light of Christ.
There are various ways that scripture expresses the basic idea of facing Christ. One of the most common is to come to Christ. Jesus Himself encourages us to come to Him. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest”. Mt 11: 28 literally in original Greek the word is rest up (ana up and pauo rest) for another day of work! In Mathew’s gospel alone over 100 times people are said to come to Jesus or Him coming to them.
There is a simple wisdom that people have in the Gospels. They probably did not have a great theological knowledge of Jesus, but they knew He had power to heal and help them. If only they could touch Him they could be healed. “He had healed many, with the result that all those who had afflictions pressed (Greek ĕpipiptō to fall upon or crush) around Him in order to touch Him”. In fear of the masses crushing Him to death He had to get into boat off shore for safety!
What a simple loving way to describe what prayer is. It is an unpretentious way of turning or repenting in the sacred season of Lent. Maybe we make prayer too complicated. It seems to me that the heart of prayer is getting close to the very human and divine Christ. It is that magic touch of faith on the ever present Jesus!
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.