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5th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2024

Why has He not healed me? I have been waiting for so long. He helps others, but he won’t help me. What kind of God is this? Such questions arise in the heart of many a person experiencing a serious illness.   The desire for healing and the expectation of this from Jesus is the reality that the Gospel tells us about today. Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law lying in a fever, but also, „ he cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another: he also cast many devils.”

It is hardly surprising that in the face of such events „they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils. The whole town came crowding round the door..” However, if we  do not just stop at the healings and listen further, we will hear: „ Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there , because that is why I came.” So it turns out that the purpose of Jesus’ mission is not healing per se. It only provides a kind of ‘reinforcement’ of Jesus’ teaching. It is about what Jesus says – what he teaches. These are words with power. The source of this power to perform miracles is God the Father, but the possibility and effectiveness of His action depends on the attitude of the recipient. Without faith, there is no healing.

It would probably be an oversimplification to say that the greater the faith, the more healing is possible. But it is certainly the case that if someone has a very deep and established faith, healing does not have to take an ‘obvious’ form. It is possible not to be visibly, immediately and completely healed and yet to experience the action of God’s grace within oneself. And even if tangibly nothing changes, we find that faith changes attitudes towards weakness, suffering or illness.   Jesus came into the world to proclaim the good news of God’s kingdom. He does this by adapting the way he preaches to the abilities and needs  of the people who come to him.

This was the case when he wandered on Palestinian soil and it is still the case today. Some he helps immediately and completely, others he sends back and healing happens over time, and still others it does not heal. All of this is embedded in the teaching principles  of the Lord God.

When we come to meet  Jesus, we have the opportunity to tell Him our ills,  but we also have the opportunity to listen to   the diagnosis. Sometimes it is very unpleasant and the ‘patient’ rebels by not accepting it. In doing so, he closes the way to help himself, but this is not God’s fault. If we are only prepared to accept what the Doctor says about us and take care of what he ‘applies’ to us, the illness will sooner or later be overcome. Each of us is affected by some kind   of powerlessness. One suffers physically another spiritually, but there is always some dysfunction. One can rebel against it    by maligning the whole world and also the Lord God.

But one can also ask God how to deal with it, or how it can be used in building one’s even stronger and deeper relationship with   the Creator?  Jesus, responding, in a moment extends his hand, as to Simon’s mother-in-law, to give it to you. In Holy Communion, he heals all our weaknesses and illnesses and gives himself completely. This is a healing encounter. Will you grasp that  hand today? Do you want to use the ‘prescriptions’ that  Jesus  gives or will you treat yourself in your own way?

Remember one has only one life and it is worth cherishing, for although “through much suffering” we are to enter “the joy of our Lord”.