Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword - Healing
The word "healing" in today's usage goes beyond recovering from medical illness; it also covers situations arising from tragedy, misfortune, bereavement, marital breakdowns and so on. Today's readings present Jesus as "Healer" in both the physical and the spiritual sense.

Book of Job &:1-4,6-7: This reading presents a picture of the futility of living. Job is not aware of having done evil and so cannot understand why he should experience such misery. He concludes that the answer must be found in the mind of God, because, in himself man is too insignificant to understand.

Cor: 9:16-19,22-23: Paul is still having difficulties with the Corinthians to whom he does not wish to be obligated. He is hurt by their unwarranted criticism, but draws healing strength from his belief in the mission that he has undertaken - to make Christ known.

Mark 1:29-39: The gospel is the main source of our reflection - Jesus healing physically, but not allowing this to distract him from the more important work of spiritual healing available to people through hearing the Good News.

Point 1: The act of physical healing is an every day fact of living; few of us, if any, have not known that blessed relief that comes when the aches and pains of an indisposition pass and the act of getting up in the morning ceases to be an act of heroic virtue and simply becomes a normal aggravation. Increasingly, with our complex living styles, the need for spiritual healing is greater than the need for physical healing. Early in Christ's ministry, there was the danger that people would only see Him as a healer of their physical ailments. But there is no doubt that His powers to heal physical illness were only a tool to get people to see the deeper mission He had, namely, to bring to people spiritual healing, to complete wholeness of living..

Point 2: The same danger exists today as people seek out the phenomenal as part of their religious expression. Today, as in the time of Christ, the real healing mission is to restore people spiritually; to have them know that in spite of failure, forgiveness, or spiritual healing, is at the heart of the Christian response. To know that a spirit of resignation is also an important aspect of healing; should our prayers for relief from a given situation not be granted, then, our attitudes do not turn to rebellion or denial. With Christ our prayer becomes "Not my will, but yours be done". The letting go of prejudices and taboos with regard to those around us is also part of the healing process.

Conclusion: Today's gospel gives us a complete picture of Christ's healing ministry at work - his words and actions overpower evil in the case of the man possessed (last week's reading); he goes immediately to the house of Peter and there cures the mother-in-law, at the same time flouting the longstanding taboo of taking the woman by the hand and allowing her to serve at table. This was completely unacceptable behaviour for any man, let alone one who claimed to be a religious leader. By his presence, Jesus brought wholeness and holiness to those with whom he came in contact. What happened at Capernaum was only the beginning - others were entitled to share this sense of wholeness, and so, whilst the Apostles were quite happy to stay where they were and bask in the reflected glory of Christ, He had to move on. There were others waiting to hear the Good News.

So it is with us. Recognise the goodness that God brings into our lives and let us pass that on to others by letting them see the wholeness that is ours, in good times as in bad,because of our faith.

Scriptural reference: "As for me, I said, "O LORD, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you." Psalm 41:4