In our first reading, miserable Job calls
“man’s life on earth a drudgery”—
“I shall not see happiness again,” he mourns.
Job needed a word of healing.
And, like Job, so do we.
For many, life is a drudgery;
many struggle from paycheck to paycheck;
others would just be to have a paycheck.
Many are afflicted with by the “demon” of addiction.
Almost every week, we read about someone whose whole life is ruined…
because of someplace they went on the Internet.
Same with alcohol or drugs and many other addictions.
We can’t heal ourselves; we stay in the same cycle.
The answer has to come from outside:
We need a Savior.
The Gospel of Mark tells the story of Jesus,
The Son of God who indeed came from “outside”—
And who quickly starts making things happen.
Last week we heard how astonished everyone was,
because he “spoke with authority”—
they couldn’t explain it,
but they knew they had experienced some awesome power:
he spoke—and it was so;
he spoke—and people were healed;
he spoke—and demons fled!
Jesus, the Son of God, from outside, from heaven,
came inside—he became human;
Jesus is our Savior.
He speaks with authority,
To bring healing and cast out evil.
In the second reading, Saint Paul talks about
the privilege of sharing this Word of healing—
sharing Jesus Christ—with others.
He calls it a “stewardship” entrusted to him.
It is also entrusted to each of us.
We are talking more about “stewardship” these days—
the idea is this: God has given us awesome gifts,
especially our Faith, our parishes, our Catholic schools;
above all, he has given us one another!
Each of us is given so many gifts—and when we share them,
this is what makes our Catholic community
a place of life and nourishment and growth.
Think about all those folks who came to Jesus,
whom he fed, or cast demons out of, or he healed.
Why didn’t that fix everything?
You’d think that would be enough.
Yet, where were they when Jesus got arrested?
What was missing?
They needed one more thing:
they needed Jesus at the center of their lives!
This is what we are as a Catholic community:
A place and a people where Jesus is the center:
what you see in the physical arrangement of our churches
is what people need to see in us:
Jesus at the center.
That is our healing.
No, it doesn’t change our bodies, so we never get sick;
and it doesn’t change our wills so we never make mistakes;
but when Jesus is at the center,
He changes us—so we’re not afraid;
He changes us—so we need not be slaves to the world,
slaves to the past, slaves to sin.
He fills us—so we are no longer empty inside;
He fills us—so we have a center of gravity,
a Rock, that cannot be moved even in the worst of storms!
Jesus fills us with Himself: He is the Word of healing,
He is the Life that can never be taken away;
that’s healing that never fades;
that’s power that cannot be conquered;
that’s confidence; that’s peace.
Many ask, how can we grow as a parish?
This is how: as people experience us
as Jesus-centered people, that will draw them!
Saint Thomas Aquinas, the great scholar,
had just completed one of his writings on the Eucharist.
He was praying one day,
and he heard the Lord speak to him from the crucifix.
“Thomas,” the Lord said,
“you have written well concerning me—
what reward would you have?”
What might Thomas have asked for?
With money, he could have founded universities;
with more wisdom, or just time,
he could have written even more.
He could have requested physical healing, or political power…
He could have asked for any number of good things.
“Nothing, Lord—only You.”