Sunday, February 5, 2017

"AS MANY AS TOUCHED IT GOT WELL."


Homily for February 6th, 2017: Mark 6:53-56.

          For a couple of hours, during the voyage across the lake, Jesus has privacy. No one will bother him. Then, as soon as they reach the farther shore, the old routine resumes. “As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him,” Mark tells us. “They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was” – another normal day for Jesus.

I still remember seeing on television back in 1964, pictures of Pope Paul VI in Jerusalem. As he tried to walk through the narrow streets of old Jerusalem, lined by shops and crowds of people on both sides, the Pope was constantly jostled by the crowds. And I remember thinking: ‘That’s what Jesus’ life was like; constantly hemmed in by people wanting to speak to him, to touch him.’ That is why we read often in the gospels about Jesus withdrawing to what the gospel writers call “deserted places.” He needed to escape the constant pressure, to be alone with his heavenly Father, from whom all Jesus’ power came, and all his love.  

In today’s gospel Mark tells us that wherever Jesus came “they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel of his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.”

Jesus is still healing people. He cures us of physical ailments, but of spiritual ones as well: bad habits, pride, lack of love, jealousy, envy, hard-heartedness, impurity, resentment and hate. One of his titles is the Good Physician.

There is a little prayer, only five words, which I learned decades ago and which I repeat often as I go through the day. “Good Physician, make me whole.” Take that prayer and use it as you go through this day. Repeat the words over and over. They will take you straight to the heart of the One who loves you beyond your imagining; whose love will never let you go.

“Good Physician, Make me whole.”