Healing a Broken World: 14th Sunday
Today’s Scriptures are very positive and encouraging for those of us who follow Jesus. The first reading was written during the Jewish captivity in a foreign land where the Jewish people are unwanted strangers and hated aliens. God promises God’s people that God is still with them and cherishes them. God will deliver them.
In the Gospel we see Jesus sending out his disciples to continue his Mission – tekkun olam – to heal a broken world. In the second reading from St. Paul’s letter to his beloved Galatian Church, Paul says that we who follow Jesus are a ‘new creation’. Let’s try to apply these teachings to ourselves today.
We who follow Jesus are given a challenge…to continue to Jesus’ mission of healing a broken world. Is our world broken?
45,000 suicides and 70,000 overdoses in our country in 2017.
Add gun violence and domestic abuse to this list.
An acquaintance of mine has Narcon in her kitchen…
one of her kids might need it at any time.
Something’s wrong. Something is broken…
In the Gospel Jesus promises…
I have given you the power to ‘tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you.
I believe that this can refer to the many addictions in our world today which hurt so many people. What would it be like for people not to live a life of addiction? What would it be life not to live a life of discontent, boredom, irritability, fear, loneliness, depression, sadness and self-pity.
What would it be like for people not to live in the pain of what they consider meaningless lives? What would it be like not to live in the pain of a recent sad experience…loss of a loved one, or a job, or a career. What would it be like not to live a life centered on anger or resentment.
This is what Jesus came to do – heal a broken world.
And Jesus challenges us to continue his beautiful mission of healing a broken world. We cannot do this by ourselves. It is too much. We need to have Jesus in our lives, to realize how precious we are to Jesus and that we are cherished by Jesus.
We also need to know that Jesus took all of our darkness and pain to the Cross with him and has won the victory…and his victory is still working its way in our world today…many times thru us. We need to spend time with Jesus. That’s prayer – that’s how we get to know Jesus. Spend time with Jesus.
If we are disciples of Jesus we have to get to know Him and admire him… why do you admire Jesus? Read the Gospels and the stories and teachings of Jesus. We cannot be devoted to someone we do not know. We need to get to know Jesus more deeply. Then we can cherish Him and love Him and make Him a part of our lives. Pope Francis has many times preached this.
It’s so important for us disciples of Jesus today.We need to be committed to Jesus before we carry on His Mission and that’s our job as his disciples today. Jesus sends us into our world to continue his Mission of bringing God’s love, forgiveness, compassion and mercy into our world.We are to be a people of the culture of life, as St. John Paul II urged and encouraged us to be. What an exciting, meaningful life worth living.
The Nursing Home Angel
I remember once I was giving a Lenten parish Mission in one of our suburban parishes. I was touched by one of Jesus’ disciples… one of God’s “little people”. She’s not a celebrity. She’s not one of the rich and famous. She’s a widow, who lived in the parish,
who went to Mass daily, and who took daily communion to the people in a nursing home across the street from her parish Church.
I accompanied her to that nursing home one morning, a cold and windy winter morning for me it became a journey up the mountain with Jesus where I saw people transfigured momentarily in the presence of compassion and love.
The woman bringing communion, bringing Jesus, to the old and frail in the nursing home. She knew all of their names, and they knew hers. When she entered a room the people in the room looked up, saw her, and many of their faces lit up with a smile of recognition. She would go over to the person receiving communion, give them a hug and a kiss on the cheek and greet them by name. She introduced each one to me. I told them who I was and that I was privileged to bring them communion on this day.
We prayed together, shared a bit of Scripture, said the Our Father, then they received the Body of Christ. Afterwards we held hands, I blessed them, and we chatted when it was possible. Then we moved on to another resident.
The woman I accompanied told me how she felt so blessed to be able to serve these little people of God, our brothers and sisters in the family of God. She seemed to glow in the presence of these residents. And so many of them responded with a smile and with gratitude that she would visit them and bring Jesus to them. You probably won’t read about this woman in tomorrow’s newspaper, or hear what about what she does on the radio.
But to me, this is what life is all about. This is what our journey and call from God are about. We are graced by God to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, continuing Jesus’ work in our world, allowing ourselves to be God’s instruments in our world. This is our call… this is what our life’s journey is all about.
We cannot solve the problems of the world.
But we can help one person at a time. We know that life is not about ‘buying more stuff’. More entertainment is a temporary fix, not a permanent happiness. We are disciples of Jesus… loved and cherished by Jesus. With the help of Jesus we desire to carry on his mission of ‘healing our world’, one person at a time. We know that we need Jesus’ help and strength and healing to do this. And we need the encouragement and inspiration of each other.
As we continue with this Eucharist we ask Jesus to come into our hearts, to bless and encourage and strengthen not just ourselves, but all those present in this church this morning. May all of us bring Jesus into our world… one person at a time.