THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – Christ’s gifts of healing, hope and wholeness
God’s Story – God’s design for our lives
Our Story – living into God’s design for our lives.
Now we are prepared for the second half of the year – Green Season/the “Our Story” part which happens in Ordinary Time in the weeks after Pentecost.
So, how do we live into living and proclaiming from the scriptures today that:
Our hope is in God
Our help is in God
Our life is in Christ
The steadfast love of God is evident throughout the passages for this day.
Elijah becomes the expression of steadfast and determined faith, an example rewarded by God carrying him to safety.
Praise the God of Elijah, who is steadfast and strong in the wilderness.
Our hope is in God!
The psalmist reminds us that throughout times of distress and dark nights of the soul, God is ever present.
Praise the God of the lost, who is our rock and our help in times of need.
Our help is in God!
The New Testament passage proclaims that we are justified by faith in Christ, who claims us all as children of God.
Praise the God of Jesus Christ, who makes us children of the beloved.
Our life is in Christ! Amen!
The promise of belonging to Christ is echoed in the healing of the Gerasene demoniac who Jesus instructs to share how much God has done for him.
Christ’s gifts of healing, hope and wholeness
As we look around us in today’s world, we see tortured minds and restless souls who are not at peace within, but who hurt inside.
Our Lord invites those in mental or physical agony, those weighed down with heavier loads than they can carry, to come to Him for relief and release. “Come to Me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28)”
In Jesus’ time, there were many tortured souls, souls afflicted by unclean spirits, for whom our Lord showed a compassionate concern.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus and His twelve disciples cross the Lake of Galilee at great risk to their lives, during a terrible storm, in order to heal one demented outcast.
Frequently, Jesus interrupts whatever He’s doing to help those in greatest need around Him.
The great men and women of our world today are super-busy people.
We get the impression that they have little time to spare for interruptions and the unexpected.
Not so our Lord! On His way to Jerusalem to complete His mission of our salvation, Jesus stopped.
He stopped in order to help and heal a blind beggar. “Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, He is calling you.’ (Mark 10:49).”
In the demon-possessed man in this story, we see the destructive and degrading power of evil.
Evil is the corruption of something that’s good – in this case, the corruption of one of God’s good creations, created in His image.
Evil corrupts what’s good in a self-destructive and menacing manner.
Since the Son of God has become one of us, the forces of evil have also tried to “incarnate” themselves in human beings.
Even today, we see the terrible destruction of good lives by the demons of addiction.
We see the devastation caused by addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling, and so on.
Our doctors and professional carers and counsellors are our Lord’s allies in helping people handle and overcome these addictions.
Pessimists might say: “You can’t change human nature.”
But our Lord can, and has done so.
The New Testament is rich with stories of people’s lives changed by our Lord Jesus.
The tormented person in today’s text has been ejected from his home. His rejection by his family must have only added to his agony.
The name he refers to himself as, “Legion”, a military term, suggests the terrible battle within himself, the battle between his heart and his soul.
He is known as “Legion” because he has been defeated by an army of destructive thoughts and harmful intentions.
The alien voice within the man asks “What do You want with me, Jesus?”
He doesn’t want Jesus to disrupt the status quo. Sadly, we still see people who don’t want our Lord to upset their routines.
There are people locked in their addictions, trapped in the past, not letting our Lord liberate them and give them a brighter future.
It’s cause for immense rejoicing when we see someone’s life totally transformed by Jesus.
The Gospels picture how Jesus is surrounded with the feeblest of people – those paralysed, the disabled, lepers and the lame – because they have no one else to turn to.
Jesus has come to help the helpless. Our Lord helps those who cannot help themselves.
So much of His healing ministry occurs behind the scenes, as our Lord respects people’s need for privacy. Our divine Physician adopts a low profile to make it easier for the battered and the bruised, sufferers and invalids in His community to come to Him.
The weaker a person’s faith, the easier Jesus makes it for the needy person to believe in Him. Jesus made it easier for all of us to believe in Him and His power to help us, by becoming one of us.
After Jesus healed this deranged individual, we learn that he sits at Jesus’ feet, being taught by our Lord, and is “in his right mind”.
What a beautiful outcome! Our Lord’s healing of people has a greater purpose than simply the relief of suffering.
He heals people so that their relationships with their families and friends can be restored.
That’s why Jesus says to the healed man “Return home and tell how much God has done for you (v.19).”
Today’s Gospel has a message of hope for those for whom every day is a battle with depression, haunting anxieties, compulsive behaviours and fears of the future.
What Jesus is doing in your life right now has everything to do with a better future for you.
Never forget Romans 8:28 – “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.”
Display this message prominently in your home as a constant reminder of God’s design for your life.
Jesus responds to your prayers for your own health and for the better health of your loved ones according to His loving wisdom, with either relief, with the gift of courage and endurance, or by giving you renewed hope.
Our hope is in God
Our help is in God
Our life is in Christ