The Promise of Wholeness

Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Saturday, December 7, 2019

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Today, in Mercy, Isaiah – in glorious prophecy – promises God’s People better times.

hope

Oh my, don’t we all long for the fulfillment of that promise! Sometimes, I can’t even watch the news anymore because the world is in such seemingly irreversible pain!


Perhaps we can use our prayer within these readings today to call on God for the healing they promise.

It is a healing that requires our cooperation. Isaiah says that we must name our pain to God – for ourselves and for all who suffer in our world:

The Lord will be gracious to you when you cry out,
as soon as he hears he will answer you.

Is30_21 Walk

The prophet says that this crying out will change us. We will see the Lord with us in our suffering. God will lead us through that suffering by our acts of faith, hope, love, justice and mercy:

No longer will your Teacher hide himself,
but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher,
While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears:
“This is the way; walk in it,”
when you would turn to the right or to the left.


 

Christ_Healing_the_Mother_of_Simon_Peter’s_Wife_by_John_Bridges
Healing Peter’s mother-in-law by John Bridges, 19th century

Our Gospel tells us that we are called to be Christ’s disciples, and that disciples are healers. By letting our lives become sources of healing in the world, Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled for our time.

Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus,
“Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons.

Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

How we do these wondrous deeds in the world is an ongoing revelation. When I was very young, I took the proclamation quite literally. I soon lost confidence that I would ever really “cure” someone of anything!

Life has blessed me with the realization that there are many degrees of healing. There  many ways in which living people are caught in deadly lives. There are all kinds of “lepers ” in our society, rendered so by the prejudices of others. Certainly, many of us carry all sorts of crippling demons.

Acknowledging the pain in ourselves and others, and trusting that God wants us to be healed and whole, is the work of true discipleship. Let’s keep our eyes on Isaiah’s promise to give us a generous, merciful courage for our call! Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus as he shows us the way.

Music: (Can you take a little hint of “country” this morning?)

Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus – written by Helen Howarth Lemmel (1863-1961) and sung here by Alan Jackson, one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold over 75 million records.

3 thoughts on “The Promise of Wholeness

  1. Sometimes we serve as channels of God’s grace for the inner healing of others without even knowing it. When my mother passed away in 1982, my sister told me that a woman had called asking for me to convey her condolences. She gave no name, but told my sister that I had saved her life a few years earlier. The only person I could think of was a young woman I had met when leaving Massey Hall after a TSO concert. She invited me to a nearby diner for a coffee and conversation. The poor soul was very depressed and told me that she planned to commit suicide. Perhaps she was looking for someone who would talk her out of it. And maybe the Holy Spirit prompted her to approach me of all concert goers. Anyway, I tried to talk her out of it by thinking of all the reasons why she shouldn’t have to end her life. And, of course, I eventually shared my Catholic faith with her, emphasizing how the Lord reached out to me at a time when I felt I had no purpose in life and wished things were radically different. We sat for a couple of hours over more than one cup of coffee while she told me her life story. When we parted and said good night at the restaurant door, she forced a smile and went away. That night I said a Rosary for her with the hope that she would continue to live and find a purpose in life. I asked Jesus to come to her, he who would do a better job than I possibly could in drawing her out of the darkness. After my sister told me about the woman who had called, I said, “Please, Lord. Let it be her.”

    Liked by 1 person

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