The first year of the immediate preparation for the Great Jubilee
Year 2000, the year of Jesus
by Deacon John Taylor
As we continue to look at Jesus in the gospels, in addition to
being a teacher, he attracted tremendous attention as a miracle
worker, as one who healed the sick, cast out demons and even
raised people from the dead. Scripture tells us that crowds
flocked not just to hear him, but also to see what he did and they
were struck with awe at the power he had. Sometimes he reached out
to touch people, sometimes they reached out to touch him and, in
at least one case, friends simply lowered a man into his presence.
Several times Jesus even commanded nature to obey. It's no wonder
people marveled and flocked around him, I know I would have.
In our modern age there are people who insist these stories are
myths, that they are the product of ignorant, uneducated minds and
everything can be explained rationally. I'm not sure why some
people refuse to accept the possibility that Jesus, the Son of
God, was able to suspend the laws of nature. After all, if we
accept the omnipotence of God, why should it be unreasonable to
accept that Jesus was simply not subject to the laws that we are?
Let's put that question aside and look at the kinds of healing
described in the gospels. We're complex beings. God made us that
way! We have bodies, minds and souls, and we can be sick in any or
all of these aspects. The first healing of Jesus in Luke is that
of a man with an unclean spirit who shrieked, "Leave us alone!
What do you want of us Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy
us?" The story is stark and we might be tempted to say, after all
we never see people like that, and yet I wonder if there isn't a
quiet scream in many of us when we're asked to go to confession.
Jesus commanded the spirit to come out, and it did. I wonder if we
don't need to ask for help when we avoid this particular
sacrament, for whatever good sounding reason we come up with.
The second healing in Luke is that of Peter's mother-in-law. The
lesson is there. When we have family members or friends who are
sick, we need to bring them to Jesus and ask him to touch them.
Please ask, then leave the healing to the wisdom of God, but at
least ask. There are people who say God knows they're sick, so why
even ask. Well, read the gospels and notice that they describe
again and again how Jesus responded to being asked. Notice he
never, never refused. He even told the parable of the unjust judge
to tell us to persevere in prayer. This doesn't meant that all we
have to do is ask and we'll get exactly what we asked for, and
right now! God's time is not our time, and his perspective is not
ours. Have faith that your prayer has been answered, but leave the
way up to him. It may well be that we're praying for a symptom of
the problem, and he'll address the problem behind the symptom.
Next, Jesus saw Simon in his boat and told him to put out into
deep water and lower his nets for a catch. You know the rest, the
nets were filled to the point where the boats almost sank. Jesus
has power over everything in the world. Ours is an age filled with
a feeling of hopelessness. We're overwhelmed by the size of the
world's problems and I sometimes wonder if it really helps to
always watch the news and be submerged in tragedies and disasters.
We need to hold onto the knowledge that it's God's world after
all, to ask for his help, and for the grace to do what we can, and
then leave the rest up to him. Our life, our world, everything, is
in the hands of God, we simply need to trust him.
In the weeks ahead we'll look at the greatest miracle of all. In
my small parish church, a very large crucifix hangs behind the
altar, dominating the sanctuary. I often look at it as I sit there
before mass and think what a beautiful sign it is of how terribly
much God loves us. The passion and death of Jesus, the pain and
suffering he went through, was for each one of us. That's how
greatly we're valued by God. It's awesome to consider it. It
should make us want with all our hearts to turn back to God, to
repent, to reform our lives, to respond to that great love. Please
consider this throughout lent, throughout the rest of the year,
throughout the rest of your life! God loves you!
February 8, 1997
The ninth in a series of articles on the Jubilee Year 2000 for the
Deacon John Taylor, St. Mary of the Mission Parish, Opelika,
(c) copyright 1997, John E. Taylor
Note: Anyone is welcome to reprint this article as long as it is
not for profit.