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How Jesus Heals

First Reading: Romans 8:12-17

Brothers and sisters,
we are not debtors to the flesh,
to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die,
but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body,
you will live.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you received a spirit of adoption,
through which we cry, “Abba, Father!”
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit
that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs,
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
if only we suffer with him
so that we may also be glorified with him.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 68:2 AND 4, 6-7AB, 20-21

R. (21a) Our God is the God of salvation.
God arises; his enemies are scattered,
and those who hate him flee before him.
But the just rejoice and exult before God;
they are glad and rejoice.
R. Our God is the God of salvation.
The father of orphans and the defender of widows
is God in his holy dwelling.
God gives a home to the forsaken;
he leads forth prisoners to prosperity.
R. Our God is the God of salvation.
Blessed day by day be the Lord,
who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation.
God is a saving God for us;
the LORD, my Lord, controls the passageways of death.
R. Our God is the God of salvation.

Gospel: Luke 13:10-17

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath.
And a woman was there who for eighteen years
had been crippled by a spirit;
she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.
When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said,
“Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.”
He laid his hands on her,
and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.
But the leader of the synagogue,
indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath,
said to the crowd in reply,
“There are six days when work should be done.
Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.”
The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites!
Does not each one of you on the sabbath
untie his ox or his ass from the manger
and lead it out for watering?
This daughter of Abraham,
whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now,
ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day
from this bondage?”
When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated;
and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.

NAB

oct 26

Eighteen years is a long time to be cramped and crippled. Reading this story, I feel such sympathy for this unnamed woman. And, in some small way, I can relate to her.

In my early teenage years, I began to struggle with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Random, upsetting thoughts would sometimes flash into my mind and stay there, causing me intense worry and guilt. It wasn’t chronic; I’d go through long periods where I was fine, only to have something trigger the thoughts again. And when the anxiety was at its worst, I felt like the woman in the story, metaphorically crippled by the fear of those thoughts and of what they said about me.

In my late twenties, I  finally got the courage to seek professional help, and a wise therapist sat with me every week while I laid bare the things that had seemed too scary even to say. Held up to the light, they were not as awful as I had thought. And I could feel myself stand a little taller, week by week, as the fear and guilt were driven away. Around eighteen years after the anxiety first began, I was finally learning to master it.

Yes, I’d have loved for Jesus to appear and heal me instantly, just as the woman in the story was healed. In my  younger years, I often I prayed for exactly that. But now I know that when it comes to healing, that’s not usually how it works.

Jesus tends to heal us by giving other people gifts, then putting those people into our path just when we need their gifts most. I needed the therapist’s wisdom and kindness and knowledge. Those gifts helped me; they got me unstuck. The process took time, but it was still beautiful and powerful and, in its own way, miraculous.

Healing takes many different forms, I’ve learned. It does not always look like it does in the Bible, instantaneous and dramatic. But if we can muster up the courage to take a few halting steps in its direction, we can end up like the woman in the story, giving glory to God as we stand tall and happy and—at long last—free.

Is there a pain in my life that Jesus is longing to help me heal?

Ginny Kubitz Moyer is a mother, high school English teacher, and BBC period drama junkie. She is the author of Random MOMents of Grace: Experiencing God in the Adventures of Motherhood and Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God. Ginny lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two boys, and about thirty thousand Legos.  You can find out more about her here

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Thrift Store Mama
    October 26, 2015 at 8:17 am

    Oh my, what a beautiful reflection. I could have written this quote myself: “Jesus tends to heal us by giving other people gifts, then putting those people into our path just when we need their gifts most. I needed the therapist’s wisdom and kindness and knowledge. Those gifts helped me; they got me unstuck. The process took time, but it was still beautiful and powerful and, in its own way, miraculous.”

    I have been healed. A year after I began therapy, 7 1/2 months after I confessed my sin, hours of therapy and prayer and begging God to take the misery away from me and let me see His mercy. I have changed and I have been healed.

    I’m going to write a piece about this on my own blog and will link back here.

    Thank you and God bless you.

    • Reply
      Ginny Kubitz Moyer
      October 26, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      I am so touched by and grateful for your comment. Thank you and God bless!

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