BREAKING IN MY JESUS SANDALS (Mark 6:7-13): 12 July 2009 (Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
This morning I remember my new pair of Jesus sandals. You know that just the other day, my friend flew in from Hong Kong and came by to say hello. She had just returned from a trip to the Holy Land, and she said she got me a pair of authentic “Jesus sandals.”
“Jesus sandals–what’s that?!” I asked her, thinking it was some kind of a joke.
To answer my question, she handed me a pair of very leather-smelling–but odd-looking–sandals. Odd-looking because each sandal had a relatively more complicated set of straps–plus a toe loop! Apparently, “Jesus sandals” is the official name for this particular style of sandals.
“Except this pair,” she was quick to add, “I got from the Holy Land, where the Lord actually walked.”
She also warned me that it would take a while before the sandals would feel comfortable. “But when they do,” she promised, “they become really comfortable!”
These days, whenever I can, I’ve been walking around the house in your sandals, Lord, I have to confess that they feel as odd as they look. I’m not used to so many straps, for one. And I’ve never had my big toes inserted into loops like those. I guess I have yet to grow accustomed to this type of footwear, not to mention that I still need to break this pair in.
But maybe it feels odd also because they’re Jesus sandals. Believe it or not, I can’t help but feel biblical once in a while. Once in a while I would suddenly remember what John the Baptist had said about not being worthy to undo the straps of your sandals. And of course the obvious and disconcerting symbolism of walking in your shoes/sandals is not at all lost on me–and is quite hard to shake off during the day.
In today’s Gospel reading, you give untypically specific instructions to your disciples about “taking nothing for their journey”–except for a walking stick and a pair of sandals! I wonder how long it took the disciples to get used to their journey of following you. And I wonder if they ever got used to walking in your shoes/sandals.
As for me, Lord, I can’t help but wonder: Am I uncomfortable wearing my pair of Jesus sandals primarily because of the oddity of their name and their appearance? Maybe I’ve grown too accustomed to looking too common and–yes, maybe even worldly. Aside from when I’m saying Mass, except for the occasional cross I wear around my neck, maybe my clothes are no longer odd enough or worse, Jesus enough because let’s face it, sometimes you just have to be a little odd to be like you. Am I myself no longer odd enough or Jesus enough?
Lord, today let me end with an odd prayer: May my Jesus sandals touch not only my soles, but also, more importantly, my soul! Amen!
How about Quick Prayer?