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  My Witness

Vol. 6, No. 2, April, 2001

Healing and the Proclamation of Jesus Christ -- Part 3
by Sr. Angeline Bukowiecki, S.N.C.

Sister Angeline According to the New Testament, it should be normative for the Christian to pray for the healing of sickness rather than its acceptance. Redemptive sickness is the exception and not the rule. Jesus did not treat sickness as a friend but as an enemy. In the Gospels, whenever someone approached Jesus with an illness, Jesus healed him or her. In Matthew 8:1-3, we are told:

When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him saying, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." And he stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I will; be clean." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

What did the leper say to Jesus? "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." And how did Jesus respond? "I will; be clean." And in Matthew 12:15b, we're told that: ". . . many followed him, and he healed them all." Who did Jesus heal? He healed them all!

In Mark's Gospel 16:17-18, Jesus said that one of the signs that will accompany those who believe in Him will be: "they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover." To deny or minimize the healing ministry of the Church is to take away much of the power of the Gospel and to leave in its place a body of truths devoid of life.

Christianity is much more than doctrine; it is power. The Word of God has power; the Sacraments have power; healing prayer has power. And that power is the power of the Holy Spirit to transform our lives in all of these ways, to destroy the evil that prevents us from loving God and loving our neighbor.

Jesus gives to you and to me the power to pray for healing. Jesus calls us together to form a community of caring, bearing, and sharing people, a people who know how to announce the Good News! With faith, we can begin to pray with the alcoholic that the Lord take away his or her inordinate craving for alcohol; with the drug addict that he or she will be able to kick this habit "cold turkey"; with the sick: the blind, the deaf, for hurting bodies, diseased bodies, that all might be healed in the name of Jesus!

Then we will learn from our own personal experience what Jesus meant when he said:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it" (John 14:12-4).

We can believe in the healing power of Jesus because he loves us. God is love. He does not will us to be sick. In Scripture, we are told that God's love surpasses that of a mother or a father.

"Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands" (Isaiah 49:15).

"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:11).

Healing is central to the whole meaning of Christianity. It's purpose is to have each one of us know and experience that God is rich in love and mercy. God wants to make us whole. He wants us to live an abundant life. We have only to ask and wait in trust.

"I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:1b).

(If you wish to learn more about healing and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, see the book by Francis MacNutt, Healing.)

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