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Archive for February 14th, 2020


Friday, February 14, 2020

Ezekiel 9: The Mark of Thau

hebrewtav[1]The letter “thau” in the Hebrew alphabet is the last and is written as an “x” . . . like a cross. Today we take time to consider its symbolism.

Bishop Newman in his homily today touched on the topic of “spiritual blindness,” since we have been exploring the story of Tobit this week in Mass readings which the main character is cured of his blindness from cataracts by his son Tobiah and the archangel Raphael. The Bishop said that we all suffer from spiritual blindness whenever we slip into familiar, comfortable, or destructive habits. These habits may be easily identified as unhealthy like alcoholism, drug or pornography addiction, excessive gambling or shopping. Or they may be less visible: obsessive control of our children or others, addiction to the feeling of arousal when having an affair, the thrill of vindication when exacting revenge. Brain scans have shown that the same part of the brain is activated when engaging in some of these addictive behaviors as we see light up during an alcoholic’s binge. As humans, we frequently seek a “high” through different kinds of destructive behaviors, and this search, of course, causes spiritual blindness. As we elevate our participation levels, we need a bigger shot to boost us into a new cycle. Bishop Newman reminded us that we “glide into” these patterns without thinking, perhaps because we are afraid, or perhaps because we are just not paying attention to what we are doing. The result is the same, it is impossible for us to see God.

In the portion of Ezekiel’s prophecy we see today, we are again reminded that a toll will be taken, a measurement will be made. And as people who have received The Word as brought to us by Christ, when we wear the cross on our foreheads as we do, for example, on Ash Wednesday, we are to act as Christ and we are to put feet and hands to the Gospel. We are to enact God’s justice as we walk through life. We are to love one another, including our enemies, and we are to advocate for those on the sidelines as Jesus did.

In our afternoon prayer time, we may want to ask that the mark of “thau” be placed on the foreheads of our loved ones . . . and even our enemies. We are called to intimate union with God. We do this best by finding ways to unite ourselves with everyone with whom we come into contact, even those who cause us pain. Tobiah and Raphael interceded for Tobit and cured him of his blindness. These good and faithful servants of God trusted the word they heard, and they did God’s bidding. This is what the New Testament story asks of us. We are to refrain from succumbing to pagan behavior.  We are to ask intercession for those who are blind to their own destructive ways.  We are asked to intercede for those who harm themselves and others.

On this Valentine’s Day when we celebrate the presence of love in our lives, let us reflect on our willingness to open our eyes, to open our hearts, and to love as Jesus does.


Image from: http://www.templestudy.com/2008/08/16/jobs-covenant-hebrew-tav-and-behold-my-sign-in-job-31/

First written on June 8, 2007.  Re-written and posted today as a Favorite. 

For more on the letter thau, click on the image above or go to: http://www.templestudy.com/2008/08/16/jobs-covenant-hebrew-tav-and-behold-my-sign-in-job-31/

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