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Friday, April 10, 2015

Exuberant Joy in Christ's Healing Power



I have been captivated by the response of the crippled man who was healed through Peter and John in the Acts of the Apostles.  For two days in this Easter Octave, the daily Mass readings have shared the story of his healing.

The story relates that the man had been crippled from birth and had to be carried to the gate of the temple to beg for alms each day. When Peter and John saw him, they looked intently at him and said, "Look at us." He paid attention, expecting to receive something, when Peter said: 

“I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, [rise and] walk.”
Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong. He leaped up, stood, and walked around, and went into the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God.  

I love this image!  
The exuberant joy of this man, who had never walked before, leaping up, walking and jumping into the Temple with Peter and John!
What a sight this must have been which caused such a commotion among the people that EVERYONE recognized that a mighty miracle had taken place.

When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with amazement and astonishment at what had happened to him.

As he clung to Peter and John, all the people hurried in amazement toward them in the portico called “Solomon’s Portico.” 

There are a lot of things that can be said about this passage, but I just want to ponder this man's Easter joy, his excitement, and most of all his glorious response to grace! 

I can't help but make a comparison between this man's healing and the man whom Jesus healed who had been paralyzed for 38 years. In contrast to this man, the healed paralytic had to be told by Jesus to rise and pick up his mat. In fact, there is no mention of jumping and leaping up in any of the people that Jesus cured.  Also, the cured paralytic did not even know who cured him, yet this man, who was cured by Peter and John - did not let the apostles leave his side -- but, went into the temple with them, praising God! 

Even when all the people gathered around Peter and John, the passage says that the healed man clung to them as Peter taught the people that Jesus was no longer dead, but ALIVE! Proclaiming that of this he was a witness and this profound miracle of healing attested to the power of the Resurrected Christ -- Who still continues to heal and save his people!

What incredible Good News!

It makes me ask myself, do I leap for joy at the great wonders God has done in my life?!

Am I so exuberant about God's goodness to me and the miracles that He has wrought in my life, that others can't help but be attracted and astounded by my joy? 

We may never experience a physical healing such as the crippled man in the Gospel, but how often are we healed of our the wounds that cripple our soul, our emotions, our intellect and our will? These types of  healings may not be as easily recognizable as physical healings, but they are far more profound and eternal. 

We must remember that even those who are brought back from the dead through Jesus' saving power, such as Lazarus, have to die again, but these internal healings that take place within us cause us to live forever!  They are our salvation, and the healings we should most rejoice in!  

The most profound healing takes place in our Baptism, in which we enter into the death and resurrection of Christ:  
This is something amazing and unheard of! It was not we who actually died, were buried and rose again. We only did these things symbolically, but we have been saved in actual fact. It is Christ who was crucified, who was buried and who rose again, and all this has been attributed to us. We share in his sufferings symbolically and gain salvation in reality. What boundless love for men! Christ’s undefiled hands were pierced by the nails; he suffered the pain. I experience no pain, no anguish, yet by the share that I have in his sufferings he freely grants me salvation.  (From the Jerusalem Catechesis)
ALL of us have the opportunity to receive this incomparable grace and tremendous healing miracle that occurs in Baptism, in which Jesus not only cleanses us from original sin, but fills us with Divine Life and makes us sons and daughters and heirs of God's eternal Kingdom! How tremendous is that?!



We also encounter a great miracle in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in which Jesus forgives our sins and wipes them away as if they never existed, "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us" Psalm 103:12, as we hear Him speak the words "I absolve you" through the priest. Yet, in this Sacrament, He bestows even more graces through healing, strengthening and reconciling us with the Father and His Body on earth. 



Also, we must recognize the unfathomable miracle of grace present in the Holy Mass, in which Jesus' passion, death and resurrection is tapped into and made present anew at every moment, every day, throughout the world! 


In the Holy Mass, Jesus not only allows us to participate in His One, Eternal Sacrifice, but heals our loneliness and sorrow by coming to us in Holy Communion!  Each time we "take and eat... and drink the cup" of His Body and Blood  -- Jesus abides within us physically in a mysteriously divine way that is beyond our comprehension!  In this great Sacrament, we realize we are not alone!  Jesus not only lives among us, but inside us! 

How can God do more for us?!



And the last way I want to enumerate, is the amazing grace we have been given to know God's Holy Word and hear Him speak to us through hearing His Word proclaimed, and by reading, meditating and acting upon Scripture within the heart and the mind of the Church.  In His Holy Word, God heals and sanctifies our minds, our wills and emotions when we humbly listen to Him attentively.


In all these ways, we are healed, strengthened, renewed and empowered by the living Christ!  In response to His tremendous love, how can we not be filled with gratitude and proclaim:
"We must celebrate and rejoice, because [we] were dead and have come to life again; [we] were lost and have been found!” cf. Luke 15:32.

O Jesus, help us to look expectantly and trust in You to heal us, our loved ones, and the world.  And may we be exuberant witnesses, so people can see and glorify Your Healing Power and Presence in our lives -- as we "give freely of what we have freely been given" so all will know we are Christians by our love and joy!  

© 2015 Janet Moore. All Rights Reserved.


Here is the complete passage from Acts 3, from which this meditation is taken: 
1* Now Peter and John were going up to the temple area for the three o’clock hour of prayer.*2a And a man crippled from birth was carried and placed at the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate” every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple.3When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms.4But Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.”5He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.6* Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, [rise and] walk.”b7Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong.8He leaped up, stood, and walked around, and went into the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God.c9When all the people saw him walking and praising God,10they recognized him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with amazement and astonishment at what had happened to him.
Peter’s Speech.11As he clung to Peter and John, all the people hurried in amazement toward them in the portico called “Solomon’s Portico.”d12When Peter saw this, he addressed the people, “You Israelites, why are you amazed at this, and why do you look so intently at us as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety?e13The God of Abraham, [the God] of Isaac, and [the God] of Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has glorified* his servant Jesus whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence, when he had decided to release him.f14You denied the Holy and Righteous One* and asked that a murderer be released to you.g15* The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.h16And by faith in his name, this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong, and the faith that comes through it has given him this perfect health, in the presence of all of you.17Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance,* just as your leaders did;i18but God has thus brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets,* that his Messiah would suffer.j19Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away,k20and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment and send you the Messiah already appointed for you, Jesus,*21whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration* of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.22For Moses said:*
‘A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you
from among your own kinsmen;
to him you shall listen in all that he may say to you.l
23Everyone who does not listen to that prophet
will be cut off from the people.’m
24Moreover, all the prophets who spoke, from Samuel and those afterwards, also announced these days.25You are the children of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors when he said to Abraham, ‘In your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’n26For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways.”o

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