Written by Sr. Rosemary, O.P.
Based on readings from: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020519.cfm
Last night at RCIA, one of our candidates, a young Mom, told me of a friend of hers, another young Mom who’s Catholic, who was just diagnosed with cancer 5 weeks ago, and was, naturally, most distraught and anxious. To help comfort her friend, our candidate told her about the “Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick” that she had just learned about in RCIA and that was going to happen here, and it did, last Sunday at the 12:15 Mass. She told me that her friend did attend the service and was much comforted by the prayers, the ritual, and the presence of the community. She felt comfort in the healing words of Jesus.
In today’s gospel, we heard two incredible stories of healing and faith. The first was about a woman afflicted with hemorrhaging for 12 years, and the other about the 12 year old daughter of Jairus. The woman was nameless; Jairus was well-known and influential. Both, though, were desperate; both threw themselves at Jesus looking for healing. And, in the end, we learn it is their faith that is the real source of healing.
All the gospel writers sum up Jesus’ public ministry by telling us that he preached the good news and healed the sick. Healing was a cornerstone of Jesus’ work.
Still today, we believe Jesus wants to continue his healing work among us, but healing raises a lot of questions for us. We don’t know why God heals in some instances, and not in others. Someday, of course, we will find out. Until then, however, it remains part of the mystery of Christ.
In the meantime, our experience tells us that most of us will probably face some type of suffering before our lives are over. What do we do when we’re faced with it?
Our readings today teach us to step out boldly, like the woman and Jairus, and ask God for healing…for ourselves, for others, and for our broken world. Be courageous, like the woman, be humble and trusting, like Jairus, to whom Jesus said:
"Do not be afraid; just have faith."
Today we honor St. Agatha who was born in the 3rd century and is only one of seven women named in the Canon of the Mass. She, too, was another courageous woman of great faith. Having dedicated her virginity to God, Agatha, beautiful, rich and of noble birth, rejected the numerous amorous advances of the Roman Prefect. As a result, she suffered terrible tortures and persecution and eventually was martyred for her Christian faith. Before she died, she prayed: “Jesus Christ, Lord of all things! You see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am – you alone. I am your sheep.”
The Scriptures tell us over and over that Jesus wants to heal us, perhaps in ways we couldn’t imagine or ask for. Just praying for healing opens us up to the powerful grace of God, for praying itself is surely an expression of trust and of love.
Whether it’s for physical healing, or inner healing of emotions, past experiences, or relationships, all we need to do is talk to God, ask God to heal us, and then wait in faith as God ministers to our needs.