Yesterday I went to Cor Jesu, a startlingly cool weekly event organized by the Vocations Director of the archdiocese, some other recently-minted priests, and a gang of Spirit-infused young adults from around Milwaukee. The concept is perfect in its simplicity: an hour of Eucharistic Adoration, followed by Mass. The event started small, but over the course of a year or two has outgrown a Newman Center chapel and is now bursting a large church at the seams.
I've been shortchanging my prayer life a little amidst our recent busy-ness, so I was almost viscerally aware of the need for some alone time with Jesus.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you're starving and would eat anything, God sets a gourmet meal in front of you? That's kind of what this felt like. For the first time in a pretty spiritually dry few months, He let me feel the intensity of His presence. Specifically, there seemed to be one word he really wanted me to hear: healing.
I realized that I'd never thought much about what Jesus spent a lot of his time on earth doing: healing people. I just kept getting hit over the head with how much the world needs this healing right now. We are individually wounded, and the Body of Christ is wounded by divisions, scandals, and an overall sense of weariness in the face of this age's specific spiritual battles.
This word, healing, just kept coming to the forefront of my meditation all during the hour of Adoration.
Then Mass started, and the Gospel reading was this:
Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness.
The names of the Twelve Apostles are these:
first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew;
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John;
Philip and Bartholomew,
Thomas and Matthew the tax collector;
James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus;
Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot
who betrayed Jesus.
Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
“Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.
Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Did you catch that? I didn't at first, and then Cardinal Harvey started his homily. And it was ALL about healing. He must have underscored the word healing dozens of time, reminding us that healing was one of the core components of Christ's mission, and that we as his followers are called to be healers as well.
Often we get really good at imitating the preaching part of Christ's mission, reminding people of the rules, searching out Pharisees to argue with, finding just the right way to drive home a theological zinger. And this part is important and good. But it's easy to stop there, to speak the truth and walk away.
That's not what Christ asks of us. He didn't wait to make sure people fully understood every beautiful and nuanced part of his teaching. He reached out and touched them. And after they were strengthened by his touch of healing, some of them were actually strong enough to listen.
Before we talk and teach and confront the world any more, we need to be healers. We need to be fully present to the world's wounded and diseased in mind, body and spirit, and lay the hands of Christ on them - because he's given us the power to do that! We can be his hands and his compassionate heart. Instead of standing at a distance and telling people how they could have prevented getting sick in the first place, we are actually able - and in fact commanded - to lay down next to them, hold them in our arms, and heal them with Christ's miraculous power, which is love.
There's so much more to be said about this, but I'm still processing, and need some time to ponder how I can personally imitate Christ as healer more deeply.