We hear about miraculous healings in the Gospel this Sunday (Mark 5:21-43), which might prompt us to ask: Why did Jesus go to Jairus’ house and take the official’s daughter by the hand in order to bring her back to life? Why didn’t He just heal her from a distance? Why did Jesus allow the hemorrhaging woman to touch Him? He could have cured her without any contact, yet she sensed that if she could only touch Jesus’ cloak she would be healed. Jesus heals from close by because He chooses to be close to us; God wants us to live in friendship with Him, so He heals from close by. And since we are human beings, that closeness, that friendship, is not only spiritual but also physical – remember His words, “I am with you always…” (Matthew 28:20).
Jesus is with us in many physical, mental, emotional and spiritual ways. He gives us: His Word to read and hear (and even feel in Braille if we’re not able to see!); the ability to pray (in silence, in speech or in singing); the seven Sacraments in matter and form, where we experience prayer physically and spiritually – Baptism (water); Confirmation (Chrism oil); Holy Communion (bread and wine that becomes His Body and Blood); Confession (we physically go to Jesus Christ in confessing our sins); Anointing of the Sick (oil of the sick); Holy Matrimony (one man and one woman in a covenant of love that is unique to a man and a woman because it is life-giving and unitive); and Holy Orders (for example, men ordained priests, anointed with Chrism by the hands of a bishop, a successor to the Apostles, who also lays his hands upon them). Jesus Christ, God the Son, calls us to Himself in these spiritual and physical ways to strengthen and heal us and open our hearts to Him.
How do we respond? Love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves; go to God in the Sacraments, prayer, His Word and teachings; go to Him in sacramentals, holy reminders of our faith in God’s presence, such as holy water, house blessings, crucifixes, the Rosary, and sacred images; pray for yourself, family, parish family, friends, strangers; tell the truth with love; help the suffering in our midst; tell others that you’re praying for them; invite people back to Mass and our parish family (see catholicscomehome.org). Renewed by the Holy Mass that we attend, may our response to God’s presence in our life be one that allows Him to sanctify our daily words and deeds thus transforming those moments and conforming us to His Sacred Heart, so that we can love God with all our being and our neighbor as ourselves. With the love of our Lord burning in our hearts, may we then encourage and invite our brothers and sisters, by our personal witness, to be faithful, hopeful and loving disciples of Jesus Christ.
With peace and prayers in Christ,