6th Sun. Ordinary Time Year B
Healing is on my mind since Saturday's feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The miraculous waters at her shrine have been the limpid source of healing graces for countless ailing bodies and suffering souls. In order for the Church to declare a purported miraculous cure to be authentic, it must take place immediately and completely. I remember hearing the story of a cynical physician observing the blessing of the sick at Lourdes . One woman obviously had a large tumor on her abdomen. When the Blessed Sacrament was carried in the monstrance to this woman, the sheet covering her seemed to deflate as the tumor shrank away. Needless to say, the doctor who came a cynic left Lourdes a believer!
Similarly, in Sunday's Gospel, Jesus stretches out His hand, touches a leper and immediately the leprosy disappears from the man’s body. But miracles are rare events. It is God’s more usual way to grant the healing of disease by means of medical remedies, and these often are far from being immediately effective. How frustratingly slow is the recovery from surgery or even the common cold! And it is worse when we consider emotional and psychological illnesses which can take years to become even manageable and sometimes are not completely healed until the next life. Why does Jesus not have pity on us as He did on the lepers and cripples of His day? Perhaps it is that these afflictions are meant to be the Divine Physician’s bitter medicine given to us for the healing of the deepest and most serious of our diseases: the spiritual wound in our heart left by original sin. This wound is the radical turning away from God, the compulsion to make ourselves a god. Our first parents chose their own pleasure contrary to God’s will and so died a spiritual death. Left to ourselves, we tend irresistibly to do the same. But when by God’s grace we accept suffering for love of Him, then begins the healing of that primordial wound. Or perhaps it is our suffering that brings us close to Jesus and keeps us near Him. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”. Let us allow the Lord to lay His healing hand upon us for as long as He likes. His presence will turn all our sorrows into joy.