February 6, 2012
Memorial of Saint Paul Miki and Companions, martyrs
Listen to podcast here.
After making the crossing,
they came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there.
As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him.
They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring
in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he
was. Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they
laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that
they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and
as many as touched it were healed.
Introductory Prayer: I believe in your power of healing grace,
in your capacity to heal both physically and spiritually. I
come to you in spiritual illness and weakness, confident in
your desire to heal and strengthen me. I humbly offer
you my soul, wounded and aching from the spiritual cancer
of self-love, pride and self-sufficiency. I abandon myself to your
loving mercy. Thank you, Lord, for watching over me and
loving me unconditionally.
Petition: Lord, heal my heart
and soul, and help me to do what I must
do to maintain my spiritual health.
1. “People recognized him, and started hurrying all
through the countryside.” For the most part, the people in
this Gospel were not “hurrying throughout the countryside” to invite
others to come and seek forgiveness and spiritual healing from
Jesus. They were in haste, yes, but in haste to
bring the sick so that the Lord would heal them
from their physically infirmities. How blind is the human heart
that often fears physical illness more than spiritual infirmities and
falling out of God’s grace! The gravest ills we can
suffer are those that come from within us: “For from
the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, unchastity, theft, false
witness, blasphemy. These are what defile a person” (Matthew 15:19-20).
2. “They laid down the sick in
the open spaces, begging him to let them touch even
the fringe of his cloak.” Holy men and women throughout
the centuries have firmly believed that “touching” Christ through receiving
the sacraments brings about spiritual healing and redemption. “My heart
has been wounded by many sins,” St. Ambrose used to
pray before he celebrated Mass, “my mind and tongue carelessly
left unguarded. Lord of kindness and power, in my lowliness
and need I am turning to you, the fountain of
mercy; I am hurrying to you to be healed; I
am taking refuge under your protection. I am longing to
meet you, not as my Judge but as my Savior.
Lord, I am not ashamed to show you my wounds.
Only you know how many and how serious my sins
are, and though they could make me fear for my
salvation, I am putting my hope in your mercies, which
are beyond count. Look on me with mercy, then, Lord
Jesus Christ, eternal King, God and man, crucified for our
sake. I am putting my trust in you, the fountain
that will never stop flowing with merciful love: hear me
and forgive my sins and weaknesses.”
3. “All those
who touched him were cured.” All those who touched Jesus
Christ with the touch of faith were cured: the Canaanite
woman, the blind man, the ten lepers, the man with
a withered hand, the paralytic, Jairus’ daughter, the woman with
the hemorrhage, the boy with a demon, the Gerasene demoniac,
the deaf man. All these people in the Gospel had
something in common: it was their faith that allowed the
Lord to heal them. The phrase used in the case
of the woman with the hemorrhage is telling: “power had
gone out from him” (Mark 5:30). Faith is one of
the most powerful acts of the human person, since God
himself chooses to be moved by it. How strong is
my faith in the power of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Do I reach out and touch him in faith every
day? Do I allow him to act in my life
through faith? What am I waiting for?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, you are all powerful and
the source of my salvation and spiritual healing. In this
prayer I am reaching out to touch you in faith,
even though I am unworthy and my faith is weak.
Heal me, Lord. Give me the strength to resist the
power of evil in my life and to adhere to
your grace and goodness. Lord, I believe; increase my faith.
Resolution: I will offer up short acts of
faith in the Lord throughout the day.