Thursday, February 5, 2015

Bishop's Note: February 5, 2015 - Jesus the Healer

Bishop Eric Menees

During this Season of Epiphany, my Bishop's Notes are examining how the gospel lessons make manifest the person and character of Jesus as the Son of God. Last week we saw how Jesus taught with the authority of the author of life - not simply teaching what the word of God says, but what it means, as only an author could do. As the author, Jesus was recognized by the demons, and then he immediately silenced them and cast them out.

This week's gospel lesson picks up the story in the first chapter of Mark. It is the close of the Sabbath day, and Jesus, Simon Peter, and the other disciples have left the synagogue and gone to Simon Peter's house for dinner, only to discover that his mother-in-law is bedridden with a fever. Jesus simply takes her hand "...and the fever left her and she began to serve them." (Mark 1:31) Jesus not only has power and authority over demonic forces, but also the physical forces of illness. In short, Jesus is the source and essence of health - physical, emotional, and spiritual!

The miracle of Jesus' healing of Peter's mother-in-law is only the tip of the iceberg. As soon as word spreads, many people come who are seriously ill - spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Jesus heals them all, demonstrating that his true character - Jesus' very nature - is to redeem and restore.

I like to say that the definition of a miracle is the suspension of natural law for the benefit of man and the glory of God. The healing of Peter's mother-in-law fits that definition as do his other healings and exorcisms.  

Do you believe in miracles? I have been blessed to witness Jesus' miraculous healing in parishioners, as well as in my own daughter. But in addition to witnessing miracles for others, I am also the direct beneficiary of just such a healing. Almost ten years ago, after having surgery, I developed an infection at the surgical site. I had traveled to a conference in North Carolina and during the travel the infection worsened and the surgical site opened up.  I was concerned and asked Fr. Rob Trebbe to examine the wound for his opinion. We both agreed that if it wasn't better in the morning, I'd go to the hospital. That night, at the conference, a group of bishops offered to pray for any and all who desired prayer. I went to Bishop Bill Murdoch who, along with a lay prayer partner, prayed for my healing. There were no bells or whistles, no bright lights or angelic voices - there was just a sense of peace. A half hour later, I was back in my room and went to change the dressing and put more antibiotic ointment on the wound. What a huge blessing to take off the bandage and see that the wound was closed, with no redness and no sign of infection at all. I immediately asked Fr. Trebbe to look at the wound and he verified what I already knew  - I was healed!

Jesus is the source of all health and healing in the first century, today, and forever!

I pray you all a blessed Lord’s Day!

Catechism Questions 70 - 72
70.    How does your knowledge of Jesus’ heavenly ministry affect your life today?
I can rely on Jesus always to be present with me as he promised, and I should always look to him for help as I seek to serve him. (Matthew 28:20)
71.     What does the Creed mean when it says, “He will come again?”
Jesus promised that he would return (Luke 21:27-28). His coming in victory with great glory and power will be seen by all people and will bring this age to an end. The present world order will pass away and God will usher in a fully renewed creation to stand forever. All the saints will be together with God at that time. (2 Peter 3:12-13; Revelation 21:1-4)
72.     When should you expect Jesus’ return?

Jesus taught that only the Father knows the actual day of his return. God patiently waits for many to repent and trust in him for new life; yet Jesus will return unexpectedly, and could return at any moment. (Matthew 24:36-44; 2 Peter 3:9)

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