Sermon: Our world is in need of compassionate healing

A number of modern psychologists who have studied human nature at work do conclude that work is one of the most important factors which make people tick. They view man as basically creative, responsible, and intrinsically motivated to do good work. Accordingly, man expresses himself or herself through work. At work, man is self fulfilled because it helps him or her to attain his or her personal values. Work is so important that from what you do in your life, people will easily tell who you are!

A number of modern psychologists who have studied human nature at work do conclude that work is one of the most important factors which make people tick. They view man as basically creative, responsible, and intrinsically motivated to do good work.

Accordingly, man expresses himself or herself through work. At work, man is self fulfilled because it helps him or her to attain his or her personal values. Work is so important that from what you do in your life, people will easily tell who you are!

In his book entitled “What should I do with my life” Po Bronson tells us that many people are worried at what they should spend their life doing. They are so attentive to the way they spend each day of their life.

In 400 pages this author tells the story of people who answered this human ultimate question: “What should I do with my life?” Bronson in his book invites all responsible people to ask themselves this obvious question many times in their lives. He warns us however that obvious questions do not have obvious answers always!

From what is said above, it is essential to meditate on what we do with our life if we want to know ourselves better. Self knowledge is so important because it helps us to know others as well.

For Christians who are interested in learning more of Jesus’ style of life, St Mark the evangelist depicts marvellously and graphically a day’s work in Jesus’ life (Mk 1:29-39).

On this very Sabbath, Jesus begins the day by successively preaching in the synagogue with scarcely a break to eat or drink anything. Feeling exhausted, he leaves the Synagogue and goes with James and John to the house of Simon and Andrew, hoping to get a little break there.

As he stepped into the house, they told him that Peter’s mother-in-law had gone to bed with fever and they wanted him to do something for her. So he went to her, took her by the hand and cured her.

The fever left her and she began to wait on them. Meanwhile, the whole town had learnt of Jesus’ whereabouts and they followed him, crowding round the door. He came out and attended to them.

For the rest of the day, he cured those suffering from physical and spiritual ailments well into the late evening. He rose again before dawn to pray and since he did not want to be acclaimed for his good works, he left the home of Simon and Andrew for the neighbouring village driven by his love to proclaim the good news there.

On this day Jesus revealed himself to us mainly as a compassionate healer. But for those present at that material time, what they experienced was much more than that.

There are some details which might not strike us today as a big deal, but which meant a lot for those who lived at that time.

He was working these miracles on Sabbath, a thing unheard of which Jesus was using to signal a new age and a new understanding.

At that time, a respected rabbi would not have taken a woman by hand, certainly not on a Sabbath day! But Jesus rejects any taboo that might inhibit his ability to help those in need as well as showing the magnitude of God’s compassion.

Today, St Paul tells us that what Jesus did on that day and indeed during the whole of his life, should remain as a challenge to the whole world in general and to Christians in particular.

As Jesus chose to make himself a slave to the needs of his brothers and sisters, we should all be moved by the same compulsion to act as compassionate healers of our world cfr. 1Cor.9: 16ff. 

The world is sick. Millions of men continue to live today in miserable conditions similar to those described by Job. Man continues to feel powerless in front of human sufferings which is either man-made or beyond his or her control.

We need compassionate healers who should make up a comfort-oriented society to shield man from all these sufferings.

Such a community must be made of men and women of our time who are determined to follow the example of Jesus, but this time as compassionate but wounded healers!

The “wounded healer” is one of the archetypal patterns being constellated in the human psyche. By this term, psychologists like Jung referred to the capacity “to be at home in the darkness of our own suffering and there to find germs of light and recovery with which, as though by enchantment, to bring forth a dynamic healer in us”.

Our own suffering introduces us in the suffering of others. As patients visiting the sick in a hospital, we are liberated and healed whenever we step out of our own suffering with an intention of alleviating the suffering of others.

As Christians, whenever we act as wounded healers, then we heed the call of Pope Paul VI in one of his homilies to the young people, urging them to move away from a routine and passive Christianity to a Christianity that is conscious and active.

From a timid and inept Christianity to a Christianity that is courageous and militant. From an individual and private Christianity to a Christianity of community and fellowship.

From an indifferent Christianity that is insensitive to the needs of others and our social duties to a Christianity that is fraternal and is pledged in favour of those who are weakest and those who are most in need.

Ends

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