World longs for healing, isn’t it?
Recently, I read a short story. One of my all-time favorite church magazine cartoons pictures a physician in his office, speaking with his bookkeeper. The subject of their conversation is a patient's bill, which apparently had been in the accounts receivable file for a long, long time. The bookkeeper says to the doctor, "He says that since you told him his recovery was a miracle, he sent his check to the church." Today’s gospel passage from Mark touches on the subject of miraculous healing.
In the Ordinary season, we listen to Jesus' public ministry. The healing ministry of Jesus is one of the ways of proclaiming the kingdom of God. Jesus did healing two different ways: by proclaiming the word, and by touching. Jesus is in Capernaum, in a way we can say Jesus’ second home. It is located on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Today’s Gospel is from the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark where Jesus grasped Simon’s mother-in-law’s hand and helped her up. In the same chapter, we can see Jesus heals the leper. There he stretched out his hand and touched him. In the Gospel of Matthew (8:5-13) we read the healing of a centurion’s servant. Jesus was amazed in the faith of the Centurion and said “You may go; as you believed, let it be done for you.” The moment Jesus said these words, the Centurion's servant was healed at home.
Simon’s mother-in-law received healing and she got up and waited on them. And there is something more beautiful that happened there. The door of her house was open for others. People kept coming to receive healing. The Gospel says, “The whole town was gathered at the door.”
I recollect my pilgrimage to Lourdes in France. It was eighteen years ago. It is a place of healing. It is amazing to see the hundreds and hundreds of pilgrims come to Lourdes from all over the world. If I remember correctly, every day there is a Eucharistic procession, and reciting the Rosary during the procession. There will be people who are in a wheelchair, using crutches; children were carried and so on. Everybody was helping each other if they needed help and praying together in the Eucharistic procession.
When I read the Gospel passage, I was thinking the whole town came to the door of Simon’s mother-in-law. I was picturing in my mind if it was today, especially with this COVID-19, the whole world might have been gathered for healing. As we all know due to COVID, people suffer because they physically got COVID, family members suffer because they cannot visit their loved ones, some others suffer because of the stress of the new work situations, still, some others suffer because they lost their job. The list goes on and on.
In the first reading, we see Job is at an extremely low point in his life. He was lamenting. Like Job, we all experience the months of misery. Perhaps, we do not suffer to the extent that Job suffered, but life brings with it many challenges, including challenges to our faith that God will get us through the crisis.
God knows our difficulties and frailties. He came to heal us just like he healed in the Gospel and to give us hope. He waits for us in the Sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, to give us healing and give us nourishment. We meet him in our family members, neighbors, healthcare professionals, and so on. He is with us now and always.
Job opening: Joan Bruch, our secretary decided to take early retirement due to family reasons. Please join me to thank Joan for the service she provided for St. Anthony and our cluster. Her last day will be March 15. That said, we are looking for a secretary who is organized, has computer skills and a people person to fill the position. There will be an ad in the bulletin and newspaper in the coming weeks. Thank you!