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By Brian Isenbarger, Guest Contributor, Those Catholic Men, 02 20 2019
Do you actually believe that Jesus wants to heal you? Or is that phrase simply some kind of pious sentiment. In the course of our lives we have all experienced suffering to one degree or another. However, when that suffering becomes prolonged and shows very few signs of progress, it is very easy to become disheartened and doubtful. In fact, it becomes very easy to doubt whether God actually does want to heal our broken bodies and wounded souls. Even the most stouthearted saints like Therese of Lisieux began to feel the overwhelming darkness and extraordinary feelings of isolation from God when enduring the trials of tuberculosis.
So, let’s take a deeper look at the meaning of healing – does Jesus actually want to heal us?
To start – what does it mean to be healed? In the biblical world, to be healed means to be made whole or to be saved. In fact, the Gospel writers often use the same word to indicate both healing and saving. It is interesting to note, though, that not everyone who encountered Christ in the Gospels was physically cured. However, Christ did desire for them all to be saved and in this way, He truly did desire to heal all those encountered. Unfortunately, some did not recognize the healing presence of Christ in their midst. I think this is the case with most of us when it comes to the Lord’s healing presence.
In his encyclical Redemptoris missio, St. John Paul II pointed out the following:
“Jesus implies that the message of salvation is in fact himself: “Since the ‘Good News’ is Christ, there is an identity between the message and the messenger, between saying, doing and being”
In other words, the message of healing and salvation is not primarily found in the external act of having particular ailments cured of infirmity, but rather in the communion with the One who is salvation Himself. It is from this source alone that our bodies and souls can actually be restored to health.
To use a striking example, let’s recall the story of the ten lepers in the Gospel of Luke 17:11-19. Take a second to check it out and recall the story here. What happens in the story? Ten lepers, the most outcast of society and in extraordinary pain, approached the Lord and begged for His pity. I’m sure it’s a familiar place we have all been – looking for anything that will help and begging the Lord for mercy. What happens next is the incredible part of the story and exemplifies total healing. While all ten of the lepers were cured of their leprosy, only one was totally healed – the one who returned to Jesus, fell at His feet, and gave thanks. In response to this, what does Jesus say? “Your faith has saved you.”
Here are the takeaways from this little pericope.
First, all of us our broken and wounded in our humanity. We all need healing and saving. Like the ten lepers, there is no shame in begging the Lord for His mercy. In fact, this is absolutely what we should so. Along with this, though, we must be especially disposed to receive the Lord’s healing in whatever way He chooses to give it. While the nine lepers saw their physical maladies cured, only one saw the source of the healing and returned to be in communion with Christ. In this way, he was totally reintegrated in both body and soul. He received total healing – salvation.
And how did he receive this healing? Jesus said it was through his faith. Faith is the source of our healing. It gives us eyes to see the presence of Christ in our midst so that we can enter into communion with him. For it is in communion with Christ that we are led to the vision of the Father, which is heaven. To put it simply, without Christ there is no healing. With Him, there is always healing – for He is healing itself.
In sum, there is no human condition which Christ does not want to heal. He truly desires to bring all woundedness and brokenness into communion with Himself. This is the very nature of His life and ministry. By nature of the Incarnation He brought our broken humanity to Himself, and through the mystery of His Cross He conquered death and brought about eternal life through His resurrection. In so doing, there is now no area of human life which is exempt from His presence – from His healing. The key, I believe, to receiving this healing is found in that great gift of faith which allows us to see Christ’s presence pervading every aspect of our lives. It draws us into communion with Him and will inevitably allow us to see the finality of our healing according to the eternal horizon of heaven.
So does Jesus want to heal you?
I believe He’s already in the process.