Jesus Heals Through His Church
September 6th Readings Reflection: Wednesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Today’s Gospel reading begins by describing how Jesus healed “people sick with various diseases” and cast out demons. Imitating the Fathers of the Church, the late Pope Benedict XVI saw a correlation between these two types of healings. Pope Benedict said that when Christ healed the sick, His primary intention was to “heal the spirit” (Angelus address, 19 February 2006). When we think of infirmities, we imagine physical illness and suffering, but infirmities in the Bible can also be understood as an allegory of spiritual sickness.
Sin separates us from the grace of God to varying degrees depending on the gravity of our sin. Mortal sin destroys the life of God’s grace in our souls, resulting in our souls being dead until we receive the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere sorrow for our sins and a firm purpose of amendment. While venial sin does not destroy God’s grace in our souls, it weakens our souls and makes them “less fervent in the service of God” (Baltimore Catechism No. 3, q. 72).
In the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “[H]uman beings, paralyzed by sin, need God’s mercy which Christ came to give to them so that, their hearts healed, their whole life might flourish anew.” When Jesus healed people in the New Testament, He healed their whole selves—body and soul. The medieval Christian philosophers wrote extensively about how human beings are comprised of both body and soul. This is why, at the end of the world, Christ will resurrect our bodies; our bodies and souls are integral to our identity as human beings.
In His mercy, God gives us the sacraments by which we can restore and increase the life of His grace in our souls. Although Jesus has ascended into Heaven, He continues to offer His healing touch to each of us through the Catholic Church that He founded. May we always recognize God’s love and mercy present to us in the Church and accept the grace the He offers to us, so that we may merit an eternity in His presence.