He laid his hands on each of them and cured them.
Cure. Restore. Purify. Renew. Mend. Remedy. Repair. Put right. Rehabilitate. Rejuvenate. Reinvigorate. Resuscitate. Reconcile. Treat. Minister to. Settle. Patch up. Put right. Compose. Appease. Recuperate. Pacify. Soften. Clean. Cleanse. Purge. Recover. Make well.
When I read through that list, I’m shocked at how many different ways we can look at what needs transformation. For me, each word can be attached to a part of my life which is in need; spiritually, emotionally, personally, physically. Broken relationships, being hurt as well as hurting others (and ourselves), turning my back on God, fragile health, depression… I’d wager we can all deeply relate to each other’s cry to God for an ease to our pain.
Superficially, today’s Gospel is all about Jesus healing the sick. Digging a little deeper, we can recognize how great the faith was of the people crying out for Jesus’ saving power. Reflecting further, with Jesus performing not just one but so many life-saving miracles back-to-back, it’s clear that there’s enough of him to go around for us all. Which leads us to our next revelation – how Jesus came as a savior for everyone; Jews and non-Jews, men and women, highly esteemed members of society and outcasts, those who are “righteous” as well as we who are “broken” – all are equal in his eyes, and all are equally deserving of God’s love and healing.
“There is not, never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not suffer.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, #605: 412
We are all like these scriptural faithful sick in some way; outcast and isolated, covered with painful sores which disfigure our hearts. The challenge for me is asking for help. But I have to! The Psalmist writes “Our soul waits for the Lord who is our help and our shield.” (Ps.33:20). Jesus comes! As in the Gospel today, Jesus, without hesitation or apprehension, reaches out and touches even the most scarred and injured. In spite of how empty, discarded, horrible, ugly, or destroyed we may feel, God grabs us, holds us up, and whispers “I don’t care… I love you.” It’s true… it’s absolutely the truth. If only we could stop focusing on our hurt long enough to recognize Him.
How many times have we faced something which seemed hopeless? How many times have we been impatient with God, or failed to understand his plan and timing? I know I sure have… and a lot. And yet, through everything we do and in the midst of every trial, there He is, walking with us on the road toward all that needs raising.
So seek out God. Bring your brokenness to Jesus. Cry out loudly. Whatever it takes, whatever you need to do, do it. God is there, waiting. He’ll drop what he’s doing and will walk with you, because there’s enough of Him to go around for us all. Sometimes we get what we hope for. But, we may not get the answers immediately – only in God’s time. We may not even get the particular salvation we’re after – only God’s plan. Even when it seems hopeless, it’s not too late to turn to God and cry out for help.
Even in your darkest moment, it’s never too late to have faith in God’s saving power.
Where is He in your life right now? Who is Jesus using to reach you, to heal you? Or, could God be in you, acting though you, to reach out to another?
Dear God, thank you for the gift of you.
Please, grant us the faith to call for you, reach for you,
and know your healing – in your perfect way, in your perfect time.
… thy will be done. Amen
Paul Puccinelli is Director of Liturgy & Music at St. Rita Parish in Sierra Madre, CA, and a member of the Retreat-Team at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center.