Genesis 8:6-13, 20-22
Psalm 116:12-13, 14-15, 18-19
Jesus is a healer. Every Gospel presents stories of Jesus' healings. Even Jesus' enemies had to acknowledge he healed, though they attributed the source of his power not to God but to Beelzubub. The evidence from the Gospels is so compelling that Scripture scholars are comfortable asserting that no picture of the historical Jesus is adequate if it does not include Jesus' healing miracles.
This healing dimension of the historical Jesus has great relevance for us today. For me it is key to grasping the full meaning of Jesus as savior. Too often we limit Jesus' saving work to his death on the cross for the atonement for sin. We don't fully acknowledge that Jesus saves us every day by giving us the strength to be faithful disciples in situations where we are tempted not to live the Gospel. When we go to Jesus in prayer, open our hearts and receive new energy, Jesus is saving us!
Jesus is our personal savior. Jesus touched the blind man in today's Gospel and the blind man saw. Jesus touches us. Though Jesus my not remove our physical infirmities and problems, Jesus' heals us from weakness by giving us strength to live the Gospel in them.
And Jesus is the savior of our poor troubled planet. He taught us that whenever we pray we should always include the petition to the Father: "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." And Jesus taught that God's kingdom is present on earth only to the extent that all men and women -- all nations -- live together lovingly as brothers and sisters. Though Jesus does not remove international conflicts, Jesus can save our troubled world by giving us the strength and compassion to work out conflicts not violently but as family members: "Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God."
Our pope John Paul II is one of these peace-makers. Listen
to his reflections regarding the current conflict with Iraq given on Jan.
13 this year: "No to war! War is not always inevitable. It
is always a defeat for humanity. International law, honest dialogue,
solidarity between States, and the noble exercise of diplomacy: these
are the methods worthy of individuals and nations in resolving their differences.
I say this as I think of those who still place their trust in nuclear weapons
and of the all-too-numerous conflicts which continue to hold hostage our
brothers and sisters in humanity."
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