Dads roughhousing with their young children is crucially important in the early development of kids.
Australian researchers concluded that rough and tumble play between fathers and their young children is part of their development, shaping a child’s brain so that they are able to manage emotions and thinking and physical action together.
Mothers, on the other hand, take on a more tender and soothing and nurturing role. They hug and kiss and sing and make things better when they go wrong.
Touch is so crucial between parents and children. Think about an infant reaching out to grab the finger of a parent or grandparent or older sibling, discovering touch for the first time.
Friends hold hands and hug and let their shoulders touch. Sports players fist bump and huddle and swat each other on the backside. Lovers kiss and caress.
Our Catholic church has long recognized the important of touch.
In Baptism, the priest signs the child with the sign of the cross, he lays hands on the child while praying silently, he anoints the child’s head with Sacred Chrism, and touches the mouth and the ears so that they are open.
In the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, the couple holds hands while they are exchanging their sacred vows. And the priest lays hands of them as he blesses their marriage.
In the ordination of men to the priesthood, the bishop and all the priests lay their hands on the forehead of the one being ordained.
And in the Anointing of the Sick, the priest lays his hands on the sick person asking for the healing power of Jesus to bring comfort.
In the gospel, Jesus is touched by the old woman and she is healed. In the gospel, Jesus touches the young girl and she is healed.
Touch is vital. Touch is necessary. Touch brings comfort, Touch brings healing. Touch expresses love and affection.
We need to seek to touch Jesus for healing. We need to ask Jesus to touch us and heal us.
In the way that dads roughhousing with their young children is vital to their early childhood development, Jesus’ touch in our lives is vital to our spiritual development and well being.
Jesus took the child by the hand and said to her, “Little girl arise.” And immediately the girl arose. The people were astonished.
So we beg Jesus to come to us and touch us and astonish us.