Good news is for sharing

By Father Chris Thomas

In Israel last June we went to visit the fairly new excavation of Magdala. We met our guide for the afternoon, who was a lovely woman from South Africa. We walked through ancient Magdala down to the new church which sits on the shores of Galilee and is dominated by a huge window and an altar and ambo shaped like a boat.

We then went down the steps to a crypt and it was there that we had the most amazing experience. One wall was covered with a mural depicting the Gospel story of the woman who had a haemorrhage and who reached through the crowds and touched Jesus. The picture shows only the feet of the crowd and the woman's arm reaching through people's legs towards the Lord.

It is breathtaking but so too was the manner of the woman who was guiding us. She began to tell the story in her own words, very beautifully. At the end, as she sat cross-legged on the floor, she invited us to be quiet and to bring to the Lord those things that we carried and were ashamed of.

In the few moments of quiet that followed, people began to weep and afterwards several said that they would never be the same again. It was a real experience of a touching place where many of us met the risen Christ and experienced His unconditional healing love. I am always surprised by people's stories of encounters with the Lord in which He cuts through space and time and touches our lives. Often we are not good at naming them but they happen, in times of sorrow and in times of joy. They happen in unexpected places and at strange times and this is our good news for sharing.

So how do we know when to share them? I guess it calls for sensitivity and not to do violence to people by imposing on them. Walk alongside others. Share their stories. Live the Gospel through caring, loving and forgiving. When the moment is right – and you will know when that is – share your encounter with the risen Lord. People can disagree with the dogmas and doctrines we believe in, but our experience is real and has the power to change lives. So let your experience of the Lord be your good news for sharing.