Tuesday, September 09, 2014

He Heals Us All

By Beth DeCristofaro

Now indeed then it is, in any case, a failure on your part that you have lawsuits against one another.  Why not rather put up with injustice?  Why not rather let yourselves be cheated?  Instead, you inflict injustice and cheat, and this to brothers.  Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the Kingdom of God? (1 Corinthians 6:7-9)

A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people … came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured. Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all.  (Luke 6: 17-19)

Help me Lord Jesus, who loved those who sought your healing, to speak your Word each and every day with my hands, my eyes, my feet, my heart, my thoughts and my words.  Let me chose to build the Kingdom at every opportunity here and now.

This Gospel passage from Luke opens the “Sermon on the Plains” which includes the Beatitudes like Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount.  Luke makes known to his non-Jewish audience that not only does Jesus open himself to healing many people but that He includes people not from the area, from outside the region and even those who are Gentiles.   Jesus embraced and welcomed strangers to become part of his community, touching them with his hands as well as his words.

Peter Claver served the most outcast of the castoffs – Africans arriving on slave ships to be sold in the Americas.  His approach to ministry is in the words attributed to him:  "We must speak to them with our hands before we try to speak to them with our lips."[i]  Clearly he had listened deeply to and embodied Christ’s words.  He saw evangelization as love in action which required “concrete service like the distributing of medicine, food or brandy to his black brothers and sisters.” 

Injustice and cheating even within the Christian community allowed the slave trade to flourish for centuries.  Paul’s message resonates even today as Christians seek to make the culture work for them rather than their faith rework the culture and grow the kingdom.  If I deserve a doctor’s care when I am ill then how can I refuse healthcare to others?  If food is my right should it be a right for anyone to not go hungry at night?  If I depend on my government to keep me safe and provide me rights such as libraries, parks and education, then why should my taxes not be used for others who are my neighbors?

In what ways do I embody the healing, touching, welcoming power of Christ to others?   Perhaps this is the time, for example, to support our Muslim brothers and sisters who are fearful, frustrated and sad that their beliefs have been hijacked by an angry, violent minority.  What do I know of those beliefs and values?  The USCCB website has information on interfaith dialogues.  We can inform ourselves, get to know our neighbors and pray for them as well as all who are threatened by religious extremists.  http://usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/interreligious/islam/dialogue-with-muslims-committee-statement.cfm

No comments: