This may pinch a little.
We go to the doctor to get help. We go to receive treatment, healing, and to maintain our good health. Lucky for me, my dad is a doctor and a surgeon so I was able to get help from the comfort of our living room couch. It was great! But I always remember being terrified when he said that I would need a shot. I would see the giant needle and immediately start freaking out, sweating, and thinking of a way to get out of it. “No it’s not that bad!” or “Just do it without the shot, I can handle the pain.” But my eyes were always fixed on the needle and where he was going to stick it. I couldn’t look away. But my dad, being the good doctor that he was, would gently invite me to look at him as he gave me the shot. I would look in his eyes, listen to his words reassuring and comforting me through the fear and pain. Before I knew it, it was over.
Eyes to the Father
What I was witnessing in my father was an image, a reflection of Christ, Our Divine Physician. Jesus wants you and I to come to Him with our wounds and our brokenness so that He can heal and love us precisely there in the place we hurt most. But not only that! Jesus loves us more than that, He does not simply heal us and send us on our way. That false image of God is cruel and impersonal, and yet it is one that many of us, myself included, can fall prey to time and again. Jesus isn’t the physician in a video game we go to when we’ve run out of health packs out doing our mission and need to restock so we can go back on our own. No. He wants to draw us and our attention to the Father.
It is Christ’s mission to draw all people to the Father, to heal and redeem their sinfulness, and bring them to the Father. Just as my dad in his role as doctor would draw my eyes to him, my father, so it is with Christ. Jesus draws us outside of ourselves, away from our fixation on our own sinful brokenness, and directs us to the gaze of the Father. If we ignore Him and fixate on our woundedness we miss the Father’s tender gaze of love that brings peace and security. However, when we abandon ourselves in trust to Him, the pain becomes secondary. No longer are we overly concerned and preoccupied by thoughts of how we are going to bear it, function with it, or cure it. We are caught up in the delight the Father has for us and in His longing eyes. We find ourselves aware of the pain, but no longer does it control us. We cease to be isolated with our suffering and instead find ourselves in communion with another. We are living in the relationship we are made for from eternity.
The Healing Gaze
Then, at Christ’s prompting, we return our gaze to examine ourselves and find that Christ has been doing His work in pouring out His Spirit within us in an act of healing transformation. And so brothers and sisters, the invitation for us is not to forget our wounds and sinful brokenness, or to ignore them. Christ is asking us to bring to Him all of it and in doing so to enter into and remain in the gaze of the Father, with our eyes fixed on Him as His eyes are fixed on us. We are now His children, like Christ, in baptism. We are invited to be men and women, in love, gazing at The Lover who is Our Father as He gazes at us, His beloved.