In today’s Gospel, we meet up with Jesus the Rock Star—the One who attracted people by the multitudes.
People were undoubtedly hearing about Jesus’ astounding abilities to heal all manner of illness and decided to check it out for themselves. Significantly, in Christ’s day, various ailments were considered punishment for sinful behavior: “. . . who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2) Those with inferior physical or mental capabilities were shunned and cut off from community. To be healed meant much more than just restoration in body and spirit—it meant reunion with family, friends, and society. Healing meant wholeness, in every sense of the word.
And so, because of His proven gift for restoration of body and spirit, the crowds came. And kept coming. All those suffering souls likely flocked to His physical presence in frenzied, Beatlemania-like proportions.
Amazingly, even the unclean spirits recognized the majesty and Kingship of Who Jesus Christ truly was, as evidenced by falling down before Him, declaring, “You are the Son of God!”
But . . . unclean spirits only existed in His time . . . right? If only that were so, my friends.
Since “The Fall,” evil has existed in our world. Human beings have been falling and sinning and then falling countless times more. One only need scan the latest headlines to realize that evil still exists in the here and now. In fact, Mother Church reminds us to pray today for the protection of unborn children specifically in response to the greatest evil of our age. Tragically, since 1973, over 57 million lives have been lost and countless more wounded due to the scourge of abortion.
In Jesus’ time, thousands sought healing in the midst of their pain and affliction. They sought Him. And, over and over again, Jesus welcomed them, touched and healed them; He loved them without condition and showered them with mercy.
Today, how do we, as Christian women, manifest God’s loving and merciful presence to the “lepers” who may cross our paths? Do we offer an encouraging word, a helping hand, and a fervent prayer as we were able, or do we secretly believe certain people are “too far gone” for God’s healing power? The guy on Death Row. The militant atheist. The career abortion clinic worker. Jesus turned His back to no one.
May we always follow His lead and open our hearts to all God’s children.
Heather Anderson Renshaw is currently not drinking enough [coffee] to keep up with her five young kiddos in the Pacific Northwest. You can find out more about her here.