Blog # 462 Gifts of God's Love
In Isaiah 35: 4ff we hear the Prophet telling the people of God's great power and love for them. There is no need to be afraid. God is with us! The blind will see, The deaf will hear. The lame run. Those who cannot speak will sing! Water is promised even in the desert. God's power is without limit. God' love is real.
In the Gospel of Mark 7:31-37 Jesus lives out the prophesy of Isaiah in the case of a deaf and speechless man. Jesus possesses and expresses the power and love of God in the here and now of that man's life. This is clear and wonderful!
Yet a strange element enters the story when Mark tells us that Jesus asked the people not to tell anyone about the cure. We begin to see the depth and meaning of Mark's story in this incident in the ministry of Jesus when Mark immediately adds: "but the more He ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it."
As seems to have happened frequently, the people missed the point of what Jesus had come among them to say and do. They wanted physical gifts for their present life. They sought to be able to talk, to walk and to hear. Jesus wanted to give them something to say, someplace to go, and a message to hear and proclaim that could come from no other source than from God. With God's power over nature within them, Jesus could produce physical healing at will. His marvelous cures would be evidence of this. But that would not be enough to satisfy God's infinite love for those who would trust and believe in Him.
Others could heal the body in the name of God and in some instances (in their own minds) independently of God's Name but not independently of God's will. But Jesus is not just another prophet, another messenger from God, another healer. Jesus is not just one among many. Jesus is unique and His message is unique.
Jesus is among us not simply as a physician to heal the body more quickly or wisely than others. He did indeed do such things in the Name of God's love and as an example of human goodness for others who would be called to dedicate themselves to the welfare of their neighbors in this way. In the case of Jesus, as the Gospels so regularly point out, there was more on His mind and in His message than the physical dimensions of God's love.
Our Catholic faith teaches us that Jesus was sent among us not merely to demonstrate the power and goodness of God our Father but to share it with each of us personally in the new life we receive through faith and Baptism. Jesus healed and performed physical cures so that we would know He had God's infinite power and love within Him. But He wanted us to know as well the more important truth that God's plan for us was not that we should all and always have healthy bodies, fine homes, and long lives on earth. Rather God's plan called us all to be holy even now, by faith, to possess protect and enjoy the new life given us in Baptism that lasts forever.
The people in the episode in Mark7 did not understand this and they went after all of their friends who were sick and crippled to being them to Jesus for physical healing.