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Jesus Heals Us
Wednesday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon. Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her. He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them. At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them. And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ. At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Opening Prayer: Lord, I know that “You are the Son of God.” I believe that you desire to be with me in this intimate moment of prayer. You eagerly and lovingly want to share with me the good news of your kingdom. How I need your light to admit my need for your healing grace. You know where I avoid talking about, dealing with, or bringing to you the sorrows and wounds of my heart. Or worse still, how I try to fix any pain on my own with ways to numb or forget what scars my heart. Lord, free me from clinging to anything but you. Heal and restore my wounded soul to live in the freedom of your love.
- Jesus’s Healing Ministry: It was not part of God’s original plan for mankind to suffer sickness and death; they are the consequences of original sin. Not one of us escapes these realities. Sure we can ignore or try to avoid them for a while, but inevitably sickness and death catch up with every single one of us. For this reason, Jesus came to alleviate our sufferings and restore God’s eternal hopes for us to be with him in eternity. Throughout his public ministry, Jesus gained popularity by moving about, dedicating as much time to healing as he did preaching and teaching. It is good for us to know the faith and be learned in the church’s teachings. But Jesus wants us to give as much attention to humbly recognizing our weakness, sickness, and sinfulness. We are in constant need of him. Where is he inviting me to be more sincere and honest as to my own need for his healing?
- Asking for Healing: Our need for Jesus to visit and heal us, in turn, enables us to serve and bring others to him. He needs our collaboration. What opportunities does Jesus give us to bring others to him through our prayers of intercession or specific acts of care and concern? We too can be agents of healing and restoration for broken hearts! Yet, what surprises us is that, as Jesus’s following grew, he turned away from the crowds who went looking for him. He was not seeking his own glory or honor. His life and ministry were firmly founded in his core relationship with the Father. Going to a deserted place and listening to the Father to know how to answer the needs of those around him were constant and essential activities of Our Lord throughout the Gospels. Jesus shows us that in order to help others and resist the temptation toward overactivity, burnout, or vainglory we first need to accept the limitations and realities of our lives and root ourselves in him through the quiet recollection of prayer.
- Healing as a Sign: Not all who came to Jesus were cured. He wanted to do more than heal us. He wanted to give meaning to our sufferings and restore our hope. Everything Jesus did was to reveal a deeper and broader truth. His miraculous cures weren’t the end goal, but rather indicators–signs–to orient us toward our eternal destination. Jesus performed miracles and healings that served to convince us more deeply about who he is and why he came. His intent was to help us believe in his power and his mercy. What am I seeking in asking for his favor to heal or intercede for someone in need? What am I hoping for? How am I accepting suffering or illness in my life to draw closer to the Lord and my desire for eternity with him? Lord, increase my faith in you and your saving grace!
Conversing with Christ: Lord, today I bring to you the many people who are sick in mind, body, or spirit. I ask you to lay your healing hands upon them and renew their spirits. I believe you want to give us this gift to reveal your power and your desire for us to bear all things with love and dependence upon you. Health is such a priceless gift that I don’t want to take for granted, but rather to offer in the service of others. Help me to be more courageous in suffering and letting go of what is not essential to turn toward you. I want to live this earthly life in your service—please never let me become dependent upon my own efforts but rather on you alone.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will reach out to those in need by visiting them, sending them a note, or picking up the phone and calling them. But before I jump into any act of charity I will first visit with you in prayer, listening for your voice to guide me as your instrument of love. Help me to have the courage and trust to offer you whatever sorrow, concern, or pain I carry today, knowing that my offering makes present your redemptive graces for the world.
For Further Reflection: “When I Am Weak Then I Am Strong: A Retreat Guide on the Anointing of the Sick” by Father John Bartunek, LC, SThD:
Written by Lucy Honner, CRC