A POWER WENT OUT FROM HIM AND HEALED EVERYONE (Luke 6: 19). In his letter to the Colossians that we have just heard, St. Paul offers us an impessive spiritual commentary on these words of St. Luke. In the Gospel this healing power of Jesus is operative against the forces of physical disease. But these healings of the body, acts of great charity in themselves, signify much more than the fact that Jesus had special access to graces of bodily healing. He is the physician of souls; more, he is also and more properly the healer of the human spirit as well. The word "psychiatrist" is transliterated from the Greek, and means literally "physician of the soul." For the Greeks the psyche is the seat of emotions and the images of the imagination; the spirit, on the other hand, is the transcendent person, considered in the capacity for freedom and intimate relatedness. Jesus alone has authority over this dimension of human beings, and that is St. Paul's message in today's first reading.
Through baptism you are buried with him in whom you have also been raised by faith in the power of God who raised him from the dead.
No merely human force can heal the spirit of anyone. The effects of sin afflict us at a level that is deeper than the emotions and the images associated with them. Only one who is endowed with the personal powers of God himself can attain to this transcendent and personal center of our being that is the core of our personality. Faith is the only channel that allows this healing divine power to pass into our very essence. We can never manage so to perfect our self as to deserve to be recognized by God as worthy of his friendship and grace. Paul had discovered this radical truth by his personal experience. He is at great pains to communicate it to others and made it the foundation of his spirituality.
We are made for God and our hearts remain restless until we attain to him. Augustine, who began his Confessions with this oft quoted observation, had also learned by personal experience that faith in Jesus as our Savior alone gives access to God and obtains for us a share in the divine light and life. Everyone has the radical capacity to make faith in Christ the basis on which to build the whole of life, there is good hope for us all. We can choose to take the path that leads to life. For God does not deny the gift of faith to those who are well disposed. It is offered to those who seek it with humble trust and in prayer, and transposes our life so that, as we heard in the first reading, we enter into communion with him in Christ.
As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, live out your life in him; be rooted in him and founded upon him, abide firm in faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving (Colossians 2: 6).
Let us make it our first concern to maintain this great gift of faith, received through God's mercy, always fresh and alive in our spirit. For this we need to become small in our own eyes, and to relate to God as children who place our trust in his personal love for us. Then we shall live as Paul here recommends and in the end attain to our goal, life eternal in Christ and so in the presence of God the Father.
Abbot John Eudes Bamberger
© Abbey of the Genesee
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