The Gospel according to Mark (6:53-56) After making the crossing to the other side of the sea, Jesus and his disciples 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.
Opening Prayer: Lord, open my mind and heart as I ponder your words today. Ash Wednesday is right around the corner, one week away, and I want to use this Lenten opportunity to draw closer to you. Give me the grace to pray well in these moments.
Encountering Christ: Have you ever admired someone for the work they’ve done? Such as a celebrity, or a sports figure, or a musician (group), or a humanitarian? And then, one day, you had the opportunity to meet or see them? And do you recall the joy and excitement in the anticipation of meeting them? After you met them, the memories of joy continued in your life and sort of defined a moment in your life. Well imagine if this same scenario is true if you had the opportunity to meet Jesus? Imagine the joy, love, and excitement that occurred. Imagine how that moment of just shaking his hand would change your life forever. As for me, and I hope for you, I could say that I met Jesus. And when I met him, he forgave me for what darkness that possessed my soul, it was without a doubt a pivotal moment and it changed my life forever.
Now imagine the people of Gennesaret that heard by “word of mouth”, (remember there was no internet or tv in those days), that there was this guy named Jesus and people have witnessed him curing the sick and raising the dead. How would you react if he was 10 miles away or a 100? You would probably take your loved ones by any way of transportation you had, even by foot, just to touch his cloak. It must have been truly awe-inspiring to witness Jesus healing the sick. The people who witnessed this clearly had never seen anything like it before. For those who were sick, or whose loved ones were sick, each healing would have had a powerful effect upon them and upon their whole family.
In Jesus’ day and age, physical illness was obvious by what we read but let’s put this in perspective with what is going on in this world today with sickness and death. If we heard that Jesus was going to be at a certain place in Los Angeles, don’t you think that the believers and even the non-believers would rush to see him?! It would probably cause an uproar and cause bedlam. For that reason, the desire of so many people to bring their sick to Jesus so that they could be healed. This desire drove them to Jesus so that “they might touch only the tassel on his cloak” and be healed. And I would imagine that Jesus, as tired as he would be healing everyone in Los Angeles. He wouldn’t disappoint.
Though Jesus’ physical healings were unquestionably an act of charity given to those who were sick and to their families, it wasn’t the most important thing Jesus did. And it’s important for us to remind ourselves of that fact. Jesus’ healings were primarily for the purpose of preparing the people to listen to His Word and to ultimately receive the spiritual healing of the forgiveness of their sins and to share in His love and compassion for one another. I know that for myself, by me seeing Jesus, that is the pivotal moment in my life because I decided to myself to be one of His disciples and become a Deacon.
In anticipation of the upcoming Lenten season, maybe we should prepare ourselves in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In this Sacrament, we are invited to “touch the tassel on his cloak,” so to speak, and be spiritually healed. For that reason, we should have a much deeper desire to seek out Jesus in the confessional than the people of Jesus’ day had for physical healing. And yet, too often we ignore the priceless gift of God’s mercy and healing offered so freely to us.
Closing Prayer: My healing Lord, I thank You for the spiritual healing You continually offer me, especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I thank You for the forgiveness of my sins on account of You suffering on the Cross. Fill my heart with a greater desire to come to You so as to receive the greatest gift I could ever receive: the forgiveness of my sins. Jesus, I trust in You.
Action of the Day: Seek out someone to heal someone. It could be a friend who needs someone to talk to, or assisting someone that is hungry, or simply telling someone that you Love them.