Monday, December 16, 2013

Healing wounds

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
December 15, 2013

Matthew 11:2-11

Jesus' actions left John the Baptist baffled. He was expecting a Messiah who would extirpate sin by imposing God's strict judgment, not a Messiah devoted to healing wounds and alleviating suffering. From prison in Machaerus he sends a message to Jesus: "Are you the one who is to come, or must we wait for another?"

Jesus answers with his life as prophet-healer: "Tell John what you are hearing and seeing: the blind see and the disabled walk, the lepers are clean and the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them." This is the true Messiah -- the one who comes to alleviate suffering, heal life, and open a horizon of hope for the poor.

Jesus feels sent by a merciful Father who wants a more dignified and happy world for all. So, he devotes himself to healing wounds, curing ailments and liberating life. And that's why he asks everyone to "be merciful as your Father is merciful."

Jesus doesn't feel he has been sent by a stern Judge to judge sinners and condemn the world. So he doesn't frighten anyone with judging gestures but offers sinners and prostitutes his friendship and forgiveness. And so he asks everyone to "judge not and you shall not be judged."

Jesus never heals arbitrarily or purely for sensationalism. He heals moved by compassion, seeking to restore the life of these sick, beaten down and broken people. They are the first who are to experience that God is a friend of dignified and healthy life.

Jesus never emphasizes the prodigious nature of his healings, nor does he think of them as an easy recipe to eliminate suffering in the world. He presents his healing activity as a sign to show us, his followers the way we are to act to make way for that humanizing project of the Father which he called the "kingdom of God."

Pope Francis states that "healing wounds" is an urgent task: "I see clearly that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity...That's the first thing: healing wounds, healing wounds." Then he talks about "taking responsibility for the people and accompanying them like the good Samaritan, who washes, cleans and raises up his neighbor." He also speaks of "walking through the dark night with people, knowing how to dialogue and even descending into their night, into the darkness, but without getting lost."

When entrusting his mission to the disciples, Jesus doesn't imagine them as doctors, hierarchs, liturgists or theologians, but as healers. Their task will be twofold: proclaim that the Kingdom of God is near and heal the sick.

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