Sunday, September 9, 2018

Healing Works: Faith in Action

Isaiah 35:4-7   James 2:1-17   Mark 7:24-37

Isaiah says to the fearful, "Be strong, do not fear...God will come and save you." This is a direct address to each of us, for fear is that deadliest passion which cuts us off from God and ourselves. Isaiah speaks of YHWH's promise to heal the blind, deaf, lame and mute and renew us with living waters. We are called to believe.

When James' asks, "What good is it if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you?" He is saying that faith is more than an intellectual process; it is 'trust in action.' Mark 7 illustrates this dynamic, working trust. If you believe Jesus heals, then go to Him. That is the work of faith.

The Gentile woman believed and she worked extra hard to find Jesus as He hid. It is an awkward situation on many levels, but this mother's love for her daughter emboldened her to desperate measures. Jesus responded to her humble trust by saving the girl. Some undefined "they" brought the deaf-mute to Jesus. They too believed and acted. So what "work of faith" are we called to today?

Do you know someone who is broken physically or spiritually? Do you believe Jesus heals? Then Take them to Him.

Are you being asked to take the demonic* seriously. Jesus believe they were real. In the NT it comes up a lot [demon (63), satan (36) and devil (35)] with eight  stories of exorcism, plus summary references to Jesus casting out demons or giving His apostles that power. Demons aren't the cause of everything, but is pretending they don't exist a suitable strategy?

Maybe we need to bring the little girl--the child within each of us--to get freed of Satan's power. Fr Francis MacNutt, a healer and exorcist, teaches that wounds, sins and unforgiveness are fertile ground for the work of the demonic. Satan first laid hands on us as children. Almost as an affirmation of this insight, two adults came to my office and spontaneously shared the ongoing impact of their childhood experiences. Redemption is a hard work of faith and we must cooperate. Jesus saves, but we must face our inner self and go to Him.

Or perhaps we must see how we are the deaf mute. We each have our own nous--our soul or personality which is the way we function in the world (think, feel, perceive, judge, act). We are each  deaf, or hard of hearing, in particular ways. We are deaf to some of  God's word. We are also deaf to others, especially those who are different from us. To not listen to God is to sin. Sin can deafen our nous more and more. Speech can mean more than just talking. We are called to witness to Jesus' Kingdom, but most of us are mute on the subject. Some types of personalities find it very hard to say things like "I need help," or "I am wrong," or "I am sorry." If repentance includes confession, how can we be saved by our silence? Speech is gift--when we verbalize inner issues we are open to healing. Jesus heals us and gives us voice; so we must speak.

Perhaps you found another invitation in the Gospel today. Whatever you heard, remember to hear and act on it, to believe and do the work of faith. Jesus want to save us and He stands ready.

MacNutt's book is excellent

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