I am praying that all of you have a safe and wonderful and refreshing “Labor Day weekend.”
When we look at the first reading and gospel, the theme is obviously healing. If we think about the many world leaders that we know of, how many of them had their birth pre-announced and their mission predicted? If we ask how many were filled with love for all people? Then we ask how many came back from the dead and announced good news to humanity? Jesus Christ from Nazareth, the founder of the Christian faith, answered all those questions in a positive way.
One imperfect family
God our Father sent his Son in the person of Jesus Christ, to show us clearly God’s plan for our personal lives and for our world. We are one family, all brothers and sisters, because there is only one creator of all persons and things. Jesus helps us to see this in the four gospel stories. We also experience it in the Church Jesus directly founded and continues to empower around the world. Yet we know, because none of us yet are perfect human beings, that all of the things the Church does are not perfect.
Are we sometimes frightened by what we see and hear around us? Probably. Isaiah says to us today: “Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense, he comes to save you.” How is God going to do that? The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will leap and the mute (a speech impediment) will sing. Praise the Lord. This is only one of Isaiah’s predictions about the Messiah, some seven hundred years before Christ came, to heal, teach and save humanity.
Mark’s short stories
Mark’s gospel today gives us the 14th of 17 healing stories. I love to read and study these short stories. I can often picture myself in the story with Jesus, helping him. I ask the Holy Spirit to help me understand more than what is directly written in the text. And I am grateful for his insights. Praise God!
Mark, often at the end of these stories, has Jesus say, “Don’t tell anyone.” The people didn’t listen. If we would get healed of major cancer we would be so thrilled we would want everyone to know Christ’s love. They kept telling others and the crowds kept coming to Jesus because most want to touch Jesus and receive his personal love for them. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. That saved and set us free. I once was lost but now am found; was blind but now I see.” Alleluia! What a wonderful savior. Amen!
Touch Jesus at communion
When we go to Mass each time we look at a little more of the stories about Jesus’ wonderful life and work in the gospel readings. We learn a little more about how we are to live our Christian lives. Then Jesus multiplies the bread and wine to feed us with the greatest meal on earth. And he offers this every day all over the world because we are hungry for more of him. As we come to “communion,” we are receiving the awesome “bread that comes down from heaven,” his own body and blood as our food. And like so many in the gospels, who touched Jesus and were healed, we are able to touch Jesus, if we are aware of this. More importantly he is touching us and healing various things within us.
As Jesus fills us with these wonderful blessings, he sends us out into the world to be his hands blessing and healing others. He empowers us with divine grace to be his special instruments to help him make the world a better place to live. As we do this, our joy increases. “His love is flowing like a river. Flowing out of you and me. Flowing out into the desert, setting all the captives free.”
As Jesus called his followers he said: “Come and see (what I am about), then go and tell others.” In Matthew 10:6-8, Jesus said, “Go instead after the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this announcement: ‘the reign of God is at hand! Cure the sick, raise the dead, heal the lepers and expel demons. The gift you have received, give as a gift.’” What he is saying to us today, in the New Evangelization, is to GO AFTER THE LOST SHEEP OF OUR CATHOLIC CHURCH, and announce the awesome Good News of Jesus. Amen! Are you exited? Let’s go be a wonderful blessing to those we meet this week.
Peace and all good!
+ Fr. Hilz
© 2015 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR