Deacon Jerry Franzen Cathedral June 9, 2013
1 Kings 17:17-24 Galatians 1:11-19 Luke 7:11-17
You may have heard me say before (once or twice maybe!)that, in the Sunday readings, the first reading and
the Gospel reading are chosen
so that there is a connection between them.
Today’s readings offer a very vivid illustration of this connection.
Through the intercession of the prophet Elijah,
God brought back to life the only son of a widow.
AND, in the Gospel reading,
Jesus encountered the funeral procession of a man,
the only son of a widow, and brought that son back to life.
In a way, these miracles prefigure the resurrection of Jesus,
for in the resurrection,
God brought back to life the only son, Jesus.
of a widowed mother, Mary.
There are three connected points to be made today:1. With our cooperation, God heals us of our hurts.
2. Jesus touched people who were hurting and continues to do so.
3. We can participate in God’s healing miracles.
Elijah had come to the house of a widow and her son
to live with them for a short time.
During this visit, the son had fallen ill and stopped breathing.
This widow, without a man to provide for her,
would have had no means of support without her son.
She would have been completely dependent
on the charity of those around her.
Because she recognized Elijah as a messenger from God,
and because God had taken her livelihood from her,
she blamed Elijah for her loss.
Isn’t that exactly what we do when we are hurt?
We often blame the person closest to us,
the one person closest to us emotionally or
the one conveniently nearest at hand.
Naturally, Elijah did not want the blame,
so he prayed to God that God would bring the son back to life
and, in the process, heal the mother of her sorrow.
And God did just that.
God is the great healer.The miracles of today’s readings indicate the extreme
to which God will go, raising the dead,
in order to meet our needs.
Yes, God healed the widow’s son from death,
but, more importantly,
he healed the sorrow and sense of loss of the widow.
While this is a story that includes a physical healing from death,
it is really, I feel, a story about a spiritual healing.
In the same way God will heal us of our hurts,but we must remember
that we must cooperate with God’s healing power
and that God heals according to his will not ours.
God always provides what is best for us;
we must cooperate with his plan.
That is point number 1.
Many times in his ministry, Jesus physically healed people.He healed the sick mother-in-law of Peter, the man born blind,
the deaf mute, the lepers, the woman with the hemorrhage…
He brought Lazarus back to life,
as he did with the daughter of Jairus, the synagogue official,
and with the centurion’s servant.
Jesus provided spiritual healing also.Consider the woman caught in adultery, troubled by her own sins,
the Samaritan woman
who was afraid that she should even be talking to Jesus.
Peter, who had denied Jesus three times and wept about it,
who had doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead.
Jesus, physically and spiritually, touched people with his healing.On a retreat several years ago,
Fr. Ben O’Cinnseleigh, President and Rector of
Mount St. Mary Seminary in Cincinnati said
that one of the reasons that God sent his Son
to take on our human form was that, in this way,
Jesus could bring the healing touch of God to us.
If you think about it,in many of Jesus’ healings
there is the physical element of touch.
He touched Peter’s mother-in-law, the daughter of Jairus,
and the man born blind.
The woman with the hemorrhage was cured
when she touched Jesus.
In the Gospel reading of today Jesus touched the coffin.
Through Jesus, God could touch people, heal people.
Fr. O’Cinnseleigh went on to say that,now that Jesus is no longer with us in human form,
the sacraments are the means by which
God continues to touch us.
In each sacrament, the minister stands in for Jesus
and brings God’s healing touch to the recipient.
As I have thought about his, I came up with the following:We are touched by water and healed of original sin.
We are touched by the holy oil of sacred chrism
and healed of our inability
to fully share in the ministry of Christ.
We are touched by the words of absolution
and healed of our sinfulness.
We are touched by the Holy Eucharist
and healed of our hunger and thirst
for a closer relationship with Jesus.
We can be touched by the oil of the sick
and healed of our weakness to endure illness and death.
We can be touched by the hand of our spouse
and healed of our longing for the love of God through another.
We can be touched by the hands of the bishop
and healed of our unfulfilled desire to consecrate our life
to the service of God.
Jesus healed people who were hurting,
and he continues to do so through each of the sacraments,
with our cooperation.
Point number 2.
The seven sacraments are not the only means by whichJesus continues to heal those in need of healing.
In the first reading, God worked through Elijah.
And likewise, God can work through us;
we can be the agents of God’s healing power.
Certainly parents must function as healers for their children:
by offering consolation when a child is offended by another,
by setting proper boundaries
for a child who suffers from over-activity,
by offering counsel when a child suffers from ignorance.
A spouse must also function as a healer
that could help a spouse overcome and addiction,
or work with a spouse to heal a broken marriage,
or offer consolation to a spouse
who has suffered through a day of trials and turmoil.
Certainly all members of the clergy, bishops, priests and deacons,are called to work to heal the hurts that they see around them
and the ones brought to them.
You, as neighbors and co-workers, can be the source of healingfor those around you.
As followers of Jesus Christ,
you are to bring the healing message of Jesus Christ to them.
When we are hurting from the loss of a loved one,
from the disappointment in the actions of a friend,
from our hatred of our own sinful actions,
God is there to miraculously heal us
according to his plan with our cooperation.
We know this because God sent His Son
to show us His unbounded love for us,
a love so great that
he wants to provide us with His healing touch.
And while the sacraments continue that healing touch of God,
we can be, and must be, instruments of God’s healing.
If you encounter a person who is hurting,
offer then your help, your compassion, your consolation.
In this way, your actions can be truly sacramental.