Sunday, February 05, 2006

Jesus is our Word of healing (Sunday homily)

In our first reading, poor 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 happy to have a paycheck.

Many are afflicted

with by the "demon" of addiction.
On radio this week, I heard about a man
who gave up everything for gambling:
his savings, his job, even his family.
The same happens with alcohol,
drugs, pornography, you name it.

Some get into relationships
that are destructive.
Haven’t we all seen it?
Someone we know gets out
of one awful relationship,
only to do it all over again!

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.

What can he speak to your situation?

Perhaps we want the physical healing
Peter’s mother-in-law received.
But she still died, you know!

I often visit folks facing a terminal illness,
and we pray for physical healing,
and miracles do happen.

But what strikes me is how often

I hear words like these:
"I can accept this—

I’m not afraid to die.
My only concern is for my family,
for how this will affect them."

I’ve seen people lit up from within,
with a peace no one can explain:
that’s the healing!

A lot of us would love a financial healing:
How often do we think,
"If only I had X-number of dollars

more a week…"

The other day, I read about a man

who’d won the lottery—
he’d never much of anything before.
He ended up losing everything:
he went through the money; he got in debt;
friends and family turned on him;
he’s in jail today!

Whatever that man needs—

it’s not more money!

The healing we need
is to know the authority

of Jesus in our lives!

Think about this:

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!

That’s the Word of healing!

No, it doesn’t change our bodies,

so we never get sick;
It doesn’t change our minds,

so we never make bad decisions;
It doesn’t change our checkbook,

so we never get in the hole.

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.

Thomas Aquinas, the great, scholarly saint,
had just completed

one of his great works 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 do so many good works;
With more wisdom, or just time,
he could have written even more.
He could have asked for
any number of good and needful things.
Instead he responded:
"Nothing, Lord—only You."


winston7000 said...

Strange day today, Father. I went to Mass this morning expecting the worst of dippy hymns and bad liturgy, but instead got great hymns and a reverent liturgy. But most importantly, the post-communion hymn was "Precious Lord take my hand." Now when whites sing it, it usually sounds tacky. But we had a fine, rotund, passionate Italian tenor, and the music director on piano must have summoned a lost gene so they produced a heart-rending version of one of the most beautiful of all Amrican hymns.
Now your fine thoughts. Many thank to you, Lord for all this talent and grace around me!!

John Hetman
Niles, IL

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the sermon, Father. I had to miss Mass this week due to illness, and now I have been blessed by you.