There is a danger when we read a comment from Scripture such as when Jesus, “cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons” (Mk 1:34). The danger is that we may not believe we are capable of healing as Jesus did, so we don’t do anything active with our faith. We also might think that Jesus is divine, so of course there is no way we can measure up to what he has done. An even less helpful line of thought would be to disbelieve that the healings of Jesus happened at all, that they are all made up, and that they never really happened.
Another challenge can be pride. We may want to heal like Jesus, for the purpose of our own aggrandizement, so people look at us, not God. That was the sin of Simon the magician, who saw the Apostles healing, just as Jesus had, and offered payment to them for the power to accomplish the same (cf. Acts 8:9-25). The other problem is wanting to do something grandiose, something beyond our own unique gift and charism.
What we need to keep in perspective is that Jesus had a specific mission to accomplish, and yes he is divine, but as I have shared Jesus is also fully human. He had a specific mission from his Father, he gave a specific mission to his Apostles, and he is presenting us with a mission that his Father has for each of us as well. Jesus himself proclaimed: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father” (Jn 14:12). Not only does Jesus say we can do works such as these but even greater ones! Jesus knows the plan God has for our life, the part we are to play, and he will share it with us and empower us with that which we need to accomplish it.
We all have the capacity to provide God’s healing presence to others. God works through us when embrace the love of the Holy Spirit and are conformed by it such that we come to know how God wants us to love others. There is some way for all of us to contribute. Throughout the Bible their are accounts of how God invites others to service, each in very small and humble ways – Jesus himself began his days on this earth wrapped in swaddling clothes in a feeding trough, as vulnerable and humble a beginning as there can be and then pretty much living thirty years in obscurity until his public ministry began.
Let resist the temptation to limit and define Jesus, but instead embrace the gift of a “sitting theology” in which we allow ourselves to look at Jesus, take him in, for he is “infinite Love incarnate” (Barron). We just need to place ourselves before Jesus and allow him to expand us so that we can receive his revelation and guidance so to know the mission our loving God and Father has planned for us.
Then as we go about our lives each day may we continue to be contemplatives in action, open to the experiences that come before us, the opportunities and interruptions that arise in which we can be present to another with a smile, an active listening ear, and a helping hand. In each small act we say yes to God’s invitation to be present to others by our willingness to love as he has loved us, by willing the good of each other.
Photo: Ready for mission!
These quotes are from Bishop Robert Barron Lesson 5 from his Word on Fire Institute which provides lectures from himself as well as other fellows in the Institute. I have been excited to be involved in it for over the past three months or so! To learn more and see bios of the men and women fellows go to: https://wordonfire.institute/#section–38490