Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
Who was that masked man? Who knew after all these years that ‘masked’ would be redefined? Tonto’s friend, Kemosabe, had eyes masked up. Now we “masked people” are masked from the nose down.

I guess I didn’t realize how significant COVID-19 really is; imagine challenging the Lone Ranger’s title ‘masked man’ and changing it to ‘masked multitude.’ COVID-19 is scrambling our eggs.

Speaking of masks, are you discovering that you read lips much more than you could have imagined? I find myself saying – far too often – “Sorry, what did you say?” My hearing aids are working pretty well, but I still can’t distinguish the blurred nuances of speech as they try to make it through the super-duper Elimstation Reusable PM2.5 Filter Face Mask. (I got that off the internet.)

I visited Dr Anthony Schiuma (for non Covid-19 reasons) and remarked I had just turned 79. His response was, “One good thing about that age: you don’t have to worry about dying young.” It sure helps to have a doctor with a sense of humor.

So, what is all this rambling about?

Our situation has made me, and I guess many of you, think about a lot of things in different ways. For me, all joking about masks aside, it surprises me how many people I don’t recognize – at least kind of quickly.

It makes me wonder if my encounters have been superficial. I hope not.

I find myself listening much more carefully for the reasons mentioned above. But more than that, really listening to someone doesn’t come easily. We can be in situations when we hear a lot of things, and obviously you do some filtering, trying to sort out the important from the casual.

You pray that you will know the difference. In his gentle way, once again Dr Schiuma and I broached that subject as he remarked about someone saying, “But I told you that three years ago.” Boy, have I been there.

The scriptures this weekend give us pictures of two people being chosen, Eliakim and Peter. Isaiah tells us of Eliakim who is chosen to replace Shebna as master of the palace because, among other things, Shebna had his ‘hand in the till.’

Peter was chosen to lead the Church because Jesus recognized that Peter had received Divine insight. When Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus then said, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.” We see two kinds of recognition, the one about dishonesty, the other about truth.

Jesus challenges us to look at Him as He lowers his mask. Peter comes to see Jesus by really pondering the question, “Who do YOU say that I am,” not what others say, but You! I said Peter pondered. That might be a stretch. It really sounds like Peter had a flash of insight.

What about us? If I want Jesus to ask me the same question, ‘Who do YOU say that I am?’ it means two things. He is willing to lower his mask so I can truly see Him, and it also requires that I lower my mask so that He can hear my answer unmuffled.

There are days when I’m not sure I want the Lord to see me, face to face. I’m so preoccupied with my own failings that I can barely imagine a dialogue with Jesus, much less let him see me.

Fortunately, his unmasked eyes of mercy re¬veal such an acceptance that masks simply don’t work anymore. I thank God that I can’t hide from him.

What masked man indeed!

In Him,
sign frjim

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