It will be a double blessing if you give yourself up to the Great Physician (Jesus Christ), that He may heal soul and body together. And unquestionably this is His design. He wants to give you . . . both inward and outward health – John Wesley
What could have been a day or weekend off for Jesus in a private home after his powerful preaching with an equally powerful act, ‘expelling the demon from a man in the crowd’ turned out to be a 24-7 pastoral call for Jesus. We tend to misunderstand the gospel today just as the crowds Jesus attracted in the synagogue misunderstood him and his mission, by placing their wholeness before the healing of their souls. The reflection is that, while the crowd could not understood who Jesus is, the unclean spirit understood. The unclean spirit see things in spiritual terms, while the crowd look at externals like many of us.
Signs and wonders and miracle stories may be a challenge and devastating when one is in difficulty. The testimonies of the man with unclean spirit and the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law are examples of miracles stories that are wonderful when we come out of difficulty. Mark’s narrative is a call to healing and wholeness (Mk 1. 29-39). During “healing Service” deaf hear and speak, people are “slain in the spirit.” To many, these experiences are what healing service meant to them in the past in contrast to our contemporary culture and quest for ‘the power of being in community with one another in the face of our weakness, our fragilities, and our brokenness.’ The truth is that we all need healing and wholeness but healing brings wholeness.
Wholeness without healing of our soul does not last and it may amount to broken cistern that hold no water (Jer 2:13). Wholeness in Hebrew language is described as ‘a life of total harmony with God, the earth and the community.’ The article ‘Shalom in the Mission by James Metzler provides a helpful meaning to wholeness in the context of today’s gospel. According to Metzler, “The basic meaning of shalom is wholeness, which includes the idea of uninjuredness, totality or completeness, well-being, prosperity, harmony, and having a common will and a mutual responsibility. It is used as a companion… or synonym for the terms ‘blessing’, ‘salvation’, ‘righteousness’, and ‘justice’. Shalom [wholeness] depicts the relationship that God establishes and intends for humanity with Himself, with other humans and with nature.” The reflection is that the biblical ideal of wholeness is a total harmony of our soul, body, emotions and human relationships.
Healing is very strategic to family joy, church renewal, community and nation building. Simon’s mother-in-law, the church’s first deacon begins announcing and serving the community, healed and transformed. In Capernaum today, the place designated as Simon’s mother-in-law home is the site for many healing and community wholeness. Disease corrupts and weakens our gifts and responsibilities. The lame man in Acts became the first PRO to the gospel of Jesus. He was no loner a liability to his family and community. Healing is very strategic to community wholeness and church renewal.
We all need healing from our diseases before we can be more effective, however, the greatest disease is sin. Disease corrupts the body just as sin corrupts the soul hence, true healing starts with our soul. Just as the new body of a old car is not as important as the engine of the car, the soul of man is more important than the body. Sin, is a disease of the soul. Sin without a cure will destroy your soul and the body together. True healing as the source and secret of our personal and community wholeness starts with the healing of our individual souls. Our response to the gospel lesson today points to a time of “Healing and Wholeness.” When we seek and boast of our liberty to seek and discover peace and joy in our own human term we become master of our fate and captain of our soul. We have all sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Our healing begins with our soul, hence we have to lay the axe at the root of our own pride of intellect and pride in our contemporary culture and achievements. We can not cure sin in the flesh, and sin without a cure can turn an angel to Satan, a church to a museum, a community to a desert. Sin is evil possession. Sinner carries two different personalities like the man with unclean spirit: his real self and evil that possessed him. The man said nothing, but the evils spirit in him shouted at Jesus. Beloved, what is speaking through you? We are all sick in one way or another, spiritually and physically. Jesus, the itinerant healer provides the cure. With sense of urgency, please receive Jesus today.
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the LORD
shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:28-31