Perhaps we could spend some time examining our preconceptions about whom we consider “worthy” of leading or teaching us. How do we even begin to look at one another with the eyes of God, to see in the most unexpected of people those whom God has chosen to lead?
– Kate Huey
The readings for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time cycle B (Mark 1:21-28) can be found here.
The scripture scholar will tell you that the scribes taught through the words and deeds of Rabbis and the OT scripture. This is where they derive their authority.
Jesus, unlike the scribes, did not teach by leaning on the authority of the Jewish establishment. Jesus taught by his own authority, and the people were amazed.
The scripture scholar will also tell you that Jesus’ teaching was more than mere words. Jesus taught through His healing deeds. Healing the man with the unclean spirit is one of the many healing stories of Jesus and healing is a significant theme of Mark’s Gospel.
They point to the very prominent role that healing plays in the Gospel records. These stories also deepen our understanding of Jesus’s message, showing that God’s healing action can come through human instruments used to usher in the Kingdom of God.
–Francis Geddes (Contemplative Healing: The Congregation as Healing Community) p. 21
What does it mean to be a healing community? Just like Jesus, we need to place healing people’s suffering at the center of our deeds. Our communities must be grounded in compassion for all creation.
In the Gospel account for this Sunday, Jesus didn’t look at the man to determine if he was worthy before healing him. We are asked to heal those we disparage, judge unacceptable or as unimportant without assessing worthiness.
People who are broken, entrenched in poverty, suffer from violence and injustice need our love and healing.
This is not something we can simply add to our list of intentions at Sunday Mass. It is not something we can hand-off to the parish priest. We need to perform the deeds, just as Jesus did. If we are successful people will be amazed and wonder under what authority we teach and heal.
“Ye cannot live for yourselves; a thousand fibres connect you with your fellow-men, and along those fibres, as along sympathetic threads, run your actions as causes, and return to you as effects.”
– Reverend Henry Melvill
If you take one thing away from this homily it should be that our communities are a source of God’s healing power. We are asked to look around and see who in our lives needs healing. In our compassion and through our Church we can be an agent of healing for those who suffer. Jesus showed us the way, and now it is our turn.