In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
In today's Gospel we hear about two occasions on which
Christ healed the sick. And we may ask ourselves, 'Why didn't He heal
everyone who was in need of healing?'
Because Ч this is how I read it Ч because it is not only
the healing of the body that was involved in the miraculous act of God;
those were healed in their bodies who were ready, mature to be made
whole and not only free from physical illness, who were prepared and
capable for being given a wholeness that at the same time made them
responsible for the gift of health. The natural life which they have had
before was wane; illness was undermining all that nature has given them;
the end was death, and here, they met the Living God. The Living God Who
had by His word of power, but also by His act of love called them into
the existence. And they were prepared, they were inwardly ready to
receive a new life. The natural life had come to an end, or was coming
to an end, and now, a new life was offered, a life which was a gift of
God, and a gift of God that entailed a completely new relationship
between them and God, between them and all the surrounding world; a new
relationship with themselves, a new attitude to themselves. Those who
were healed were prepared to receive new life, for the second time, as
it were, to be born by the power of God.
I believe, it is everyone who longed not only for
physical healing, not only for a new strength to continue to live
according to nature that could be healed. The Lord asks from them two
questions; the one which we hear in today's Gospel, and the other one
which we hear more than once in other passages. Today we have heard this
question, 'Can you believe, do you believe? Do you believe that My
compassion extends to you? Do you believe that I can heal you because
you have seen in Me Who I am: the Living God become a living Man? Do you
believe that you can be made whole, not only temporarily repaired, but
given the wholeness of eternal life now? If you do, however little Ч you
can. СI believe, Lord, help my unbelief, my lack of belief!Т And the
Lord said, СIf you can believe however little Ч it is possibleТ.
And the other question was, 'Do you want to be healed?'
It seems to us such a strange question: who doesn't?.. Yes, if it was
only a matter of being restored to physical health it would be simple;
everyone would say 'yesТ. But it is wholeness that is at stake; and
wholeness means to become a human being in perfect harmony with God, in
harmony with one's neighbour, with the created world, restructured
inwardly as to be whole.
And this, it is not everyone of us who wishes, because
the cost, if we think of it, is great; to accept this wholeness, we must
accept a life that would be in the image of the life of Christ: to be
among men as He was, with no thought of Himself, ready to accept all
humiliation, ready to accept all suffering, all rejection, and humiliate
no one, protect oneself against no suffering and reject no one; to
receive all brothers without exception as Christ receives us. And who of
us can claim that he is worthy of being received, of being recognised by
Christ, by God in Him, as His brother or sister?
Let us therefore ask ourselves: Can we answer these two
questions? Can I say to the Lord, 'I believe, Lord Ч help my lack of
belief, my inner hesitation born of the experience I have of a broken
personality and of a distorted world. Help me believe that wholeness and
harmony a r e possible!Т
But also, let us ask ourselves whether we are prepared
to accept new life, wholeness on God's own terms: to remain in this
world as Christ lived in it, possessed of sacrificial love, renouncing
ourselves, caring only for the other person's salvation, and every other
person's life. If we are, then we turn to God and say, I believe, Lord;
I open myself to wholeness: I may not achieve it at once, but I will
struggle for it, give all m y life for it, and serve everyone possessed
of Thine Own sacrificial love.