Your Faith Has Saved You


In this gospel Jesus tells the one leper who returns to give him thanks for being healed that “your faith has saved you.” What amazing words to speak to a leper, one who is removed from family and community, one who is an outcast! For Jesus, there are no outcasts. Yet only one of the ten demonstrates that being saved is being healed, is returning to the Healer, is glorifying God, is falling at the feet of Jesus, is giving thanks. Only one shows us how faith saves. Faith is not static; it is dynamic, unfolding in various movements.
The grateful leper, through his actions, teaches us much. We learn that salvation is not freedom from disease, but a new relationship with Jesus. We learn how faith saves: by being in intimate relationship with Jesus, our Healer.
The leper was healed while “Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem.” This is what happens to us when by paschal mystery living we walk with Jesus to Jerusalem: on the way we are healed of our infirmities. Gratitude is an expression of paschal mystery living because by giving thanks we acknowledge our own indebtedness—we are poor and everything we are and are becoming is because God has raised us up. [Living Liturgy, 2013]
What are our diseases that make us cry out, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”? We may suffer the “diseases” of racism, indifference, arrogance, lust, self-centeredness, self-indulgence, self-righteousness. The dynamic that saves us is awareness that we are unhealthy, desire for healing, trust that God will heal us, gratitude for the grace God works in us, faith in the divine Healer. To what lengths will we go for this kind of healing?
By living Jesus’ dying and rising in our own simple everyday tasks, we render God the greatest thanks and worship because our lives become like that of the divine Son. Our thanks is manifestation of God’s salvation.

Adapted from Renew International Prayer Time Cycle C


To Touch and Be Touched

Some things defy rational thought. The composers of the lectionary taking a scalpel to Mark 5:22-43 is one of those things.
In a probable attempt to keep the Gospel lesson short, the story of the healing of the hemorrhaging woman is excised from the context of the story of Jairus’ daughter, which bookends it. These are two radically different stories of healing woven together into one single story, with one single proclamation.

Differences? Both women were quite obviously from different social classes and positions in society. The girl’s healing was sought after by her father, in a proper exchange, while the woman covertly took her healing without asking. Jesus healed the little girl by reaching out and touching her, and the woman in mirror image reached out and touched him. The girl was twelve years old suffering from a sudden and acute condition, and the woman was suffering from a chronic condition for as long as the girl had been alive. And while the woman was healed, the girl wasn’t technically healed. She died, and was brought back to life by Jesus: She was resuscitated.

So, obviously, these two stories are very, very different. Almost inverse images set next to each other. And yet, at their core — and at their most basic level — they are the very same story. They are in fact the stories of two people who when they came in contact with Jesus, were transformed from death to life.

This is pretty obvious in the case of the little girl, because she died. When Jesus went in to be with the corpse; he reached out to her, touched her, took her dead limp hand in his and told her to get up.

And she did.

The move from death to life is a little harder to see in the second story. Blood was such a sacred, precious, and dangerous force in Jewish belief and practice because it was what God said constituted the very life of a being. (Which of course showers meaning on Jesus’ words, “take, drink, this is my blood.”)

So … when you have a woman who has been hemorrhaging — bleeding for twelve long years — she has in the Jewish sense, been ‘losing her very life’ for those twelve years. Life has been oozing out of her — seeping out of her. Like a toothpaste tube being slowly rolled from the bottom, she has been leaking life for a long, long time.

In fact, you could quite rightly say, that for twelve long years this woman was … dying.

So when she saw Jesus walking along the road with his entourage, and she squeezed her way through the crowd reaching out to touch his cloak, she was healed and the blood stopped oozing out of her. Her life stopped its flow out of her body. This unnamed woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years quite amazingly touched Jesus, and was thereby brought from death to life.

Both Jairus and the woman entrusted themselves to Jesus by coming to him. They had faith. They moved beyond the known – illness and death – to reach into the unknown of new possibilities for life. Risking disappointment, they reached out to Jesus with confidence that he would respond.

All of us are dying, all of us are having the life drained out of us like a toothpaste tube being viciously squeezed. — Until! — Until we encounter Jesus. Until we are touched and we touch.

We must reach out and touch — an act of blind vulnerability to be sure — to receive Life. When we smile at the children even when we are bone tired or take an hour out of our day to visit the sick, we are dying to self. . When we graciously allow ourselves to be touched by other broken arms to be truly alive; when we surrender to Jesus, Jesus offers us life and in all this, we encounter the Lord of life.

Do we have faith to touch and be touched so that whatever is dead within us may be restored to life?

Need a Lift?

God always heals. God always heals. God always heals. Today’s Gospel is a graphic illustration of that principle. What a scene we have today in the gospel. It is amazing. It turns everything upside down. Jesus was teaching the crowd. Jesus was teaching something new. People were excited. They wanted to learn. They packed the place. And Jesus taught them.

There were five friends. One of them was paralyzed. They had heard about Jesus. He could cure people. They started for Jesus. They couldn’t get to Jesus. The room was full. They couldn’t get to Jesus. They still wanted something for their friend. What did they do? They refused to take impossible for an answer. Think about that. There was no way they could get their friend to Jesus. There were too many people in the way.


They didn’t care about the obstacles. They wanted to get to Jesus. No one was at the side of the building. They went there. From there to the roof. Still no way to Jesus. And so they made a way.


Jesus looked up. He saw their faith. He saw their need for their friend to be healed. And so he looked at the man. He said, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”


The paralyzed man was healed. His sins were forgiven. Why? The faith of his friends.


So where is healing needed? In our relationship with God? In our relationship with love? In our relationships with each other that will last for eternity?


Whether we are broken in body or burdened by sin, Jesus heals and forgives. We have only to come.


The four men acted in this gospel to bring the paralytic to Jesus. They were hardly narrow-minded – they had hope and expectations that Jesus would do for their friend what he had done for so many others. This kind of faith demands dying to self. We must die to excuses for why we are powerless to act, to paralysis in face of obstacles to forgiveness, to our stubborn view of how things should be.


The healings touch the deepest part of our woundedness. Jesus brings wholeness and offers integrity of life.

Your Faith has Saved You

We’ve all witnessed this scene: little children who haven’t seen their grandparents for a while excitedly run and jump in their arms. This joyful encounter is born of their previous experiences of love, care, goodness. The Samaritan leper in today’s Gospel exemplifies the same kind of exuberant response to Jesus.

I wonder why the foreigner returned and the others did not. All were suffering from a disease that bound them as outcasts. When they were healed, the nine returned to their former life – religious as well as ethnic. The foreigner only had Jesus. He chooses to respond and come face to face with the One who has healed him. And perhaps he has found his true home. What depth of faith leads us to run to Jesus with joyful expectation of being embraced, healed and loved? How do we discover who Jesus is?