Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Healing, Wellness and Wholeness

Readings for reflection for Sunday February 5th: Epiphany 5 - Isa 40:21-31, Psalm 147:1-11; 1Cor 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39

20th Century SNAGs might have some abhorrence of the events
surrounding the healing of Peter's mother in law.
Peter arrives with a whole load of strangers
she's not well with a fever
Jesus heals her
and they seem to think it's then OK for her to get up and wait on them hand and foot.

Women will think this is par for the course!!
Of course we all know that it is the case that sometimes these ailments are indeed minor
They can come upon us quickly
and leave us quickly.
So we might assume that Peter's mother-in-law had a 24 hour wog!!
We have become rather fixated on the miracle cures of Jesus
that often we forget that this is not the major part of Jesus's ministry at all,
while it is important, particularly to those who are healed
when we ask ourselves what Jesus did and who he was
the healing is almost incidental.
We paint bigger brush strokes
and talk about things like:
Jesus dying for the sins of the world,
Reconciliation between God and humanity,
Restoring the human race...and so on
Healing almost pales into insignificance in the face of all this.
In this little story then we get a sense of the insignificance of healing in the broader scheme of things!
Some difficulty
This presents us with some difficulty
if we are sick, even with a head cold, or a 24 hour wog
it is all-consuming, and all we want is to be rid of the symptoms.
But the Gospels don't actually show us a Jesus who waves his hands
and symptoms disappear.
The thrust of the Gospel is not ...believe in Jesus and you will be healed
the point of the Gospel is
believe in Jesus and you will have eternal life.
God is offering us far more than healing
God is offering us wholeness
We sometimes don't get this,
in the midst of symptoms all we want is relief from the symptoms
But God wants us to have eternal life.
That is one reason why we see Jesus's encounter with those he heals
often have a little dialogue that goes with them
Jesus asks questions not just about the sickness
but about the wholeness.....Do you believe?
Do you want to be healed? What has caused this sickness?
And makes statements that are not healing statements but faith statements
Go and sin no more, Your faith has made you well.

We should and can expect healing
but we cannot expect healing without wholeness
God wants much more for us, than we want for ourselves
The things that will contribute to wholeness
are genuine repentance and forgiveness.
  • God will forgive our sins.
There will be healing of relationships
  • God will bring about reconciliation
We will grow in faith
  • God will deal with us in depth
Weak prayer
Our prayer may often seem weak or unanswered
Is it because so often we want far less for ourselves than God wants for us?
God will not play games with us.
We may only want superficial healing
But God wants wholeness for us..

Strong Prayer
We should critique our prayer for healing
for ourselves and for others.
Am I praying only for healing, when God wants wholeness?.
What else needs to be drawn into our life of faith
in order for our weak prayers to be made strong?
The symptoms are important to the sick person,
even if they are minor.
But let us not get fixated on them.
The preaching of the kingdom demands
that we preach repentance and forgiveness.
The preaching of the kingdom demands
that we seek to set free those who are captive:
to the motives and manipulations of others, to their own history,
to their misplaced psychology
The preaching of the kingdom that we address social evils like poverty and hunger
Don't pray for someone to get magically well.....if you are not
also prepared to stand alongside them
in their struggle to gain proper housing, to have sufficient means to be able to have a proper diet.

God wants not just "healing" as important as that is
we pray and work for wellness and wholeness.
not just a relief from symptoms
but also the permeating of God's life through the whole of our being.

Audio Download (about 1.5M) of this homily

No comments: