In the Gospels we read of many miracles performed by Christ in regards to healing. He healed the lame, opened the eyes of the blind and unstopped def ears. Christ did these things in fulfillment of messianic prophecy, beyond doubt. Yet, the Lord tells us that there is a greater message in His ministry. In one of my favorite such miracles in scripture, Christ heals a man “born of four”. Men so full of faith that they climb onto the roof, tear away an opening and lower their friend into Christ’s presence. Christ does not disappoint. His words, however, carry a profound message of revelation:
When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:4)
Of course this statement causes a stir among the skeptics in the crowd. “Who can forgive sins but God!” they cry. That, however, was the point. God was in their midst and they, like their forefather Jacob, did not know it. Yet here Christ teaches us a lesson about the forgiveness of sins. He shows us that the root of our problem is sin, and that He is the cure.
In another place in scripture Christ asks a man “will you be made whole?” This is an interesting question. This is the man who lays at the pool of Bethesda. But the question – do you want to be made whole? Perhaps not. Perhaps he wants to remain in this condition. Perhaps this is a pretense, a way to cover his secret desire to remain in a broken condition. The answer is important. This is not the only time Christ asks. He asks blind men “what do you want me to do for you?” They are blind Lord – is it not obvious? Their answer matters. Do you want healing? How much healing do you want?
The modern Christian culture has too often been reduced to minimalism. The question has been distilled to this: what is the least thing a person has to do to be a Christian? The answers vary. The steps are debated. But the focus is on when a person crosses the legal line, and what they do not have to do. I imagine such a mentality playing out in an emergency room.
“Sir, what do you need?”
“Well” he says “what is the least thing I need to do to have visited the hospital today?”
The focus is all wrong. The question is not what is the lest thing I need to do to have visited a hospital. The question is what do I need in order to be totally well? The answer to this is everything! You will need it all. You will need all that God has invested in His Church. You will need prayer, mercy, sacrament and forgiveness. The treatment will take a life-time. But have faith! The physician has never failed to heal anyone who submitted themselves to His treatment!
How much healing do you want? How much healing do we need? The question can only be answered by asking ourselves – just how sick are we? How do we compare to the image of perfect wholeness? How do our lives compare to the life of Christ – our Lord and high example. For me the answer is humbling. It would be tragic, if not for the outpouring of mercy that Christ has revealed to the world in His Church. With this I check myself into His great spiritual hospital, and resolve to follow His treatment plan to the best of my ability. I will do this, by His grace, until standing in His presence I hear Him say “thy faith has made thee whole.”
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner+