Benedictine University and MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects on the televangelistic ‘HE-aaal-ing power of JEeeeeeeSUS.”  This provocative reflection should lead all of us to ask ourselves just exactly what we are trusting.  In light of the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare), what type of healing does Jesus offer?  Listen to this podcast of his reflection for the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time. Please read Mark 5:21-43. #GreatCatholicPreaching #Catholic #BenU1887

{mp3}B 44 2012 13 Ord{/mp3}

For Benedictine University and MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 7/1/2012The 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time Please pause this audio and read Mark 5:21-43. Today, for this reflection, I will have to use my best 1970s televangelist impression to begin: My dear friends. I want you to have the healing power of Je-sus! I want you to be healed of all that makes you ill. Come on down! Feel the power! Wow! Wooh! “Be heal-ed! [smack the forehead to make the sound in the microphone]. Some days my wife needs healing like this! Sometimes my children need healing like this! Sometimes my enemies need healing like this! Yes, my friends, we have the power to he-al the infirmities of the world! Now, you know that I am having just a little bit of fun with you about how outrageous our brothers and sisters have made faith healing. Maybe that is one of the reasons that we have so readily abandoned the practice of being healed by faith in Jesus. I think what turns us off by all that nonsense I just went through is that we can see from the Scripture that there was so much less fanfare with Jesus. To summarize the story, Jesus simply takes the girl’s hand and lifts her up from death. Then he says, “Get her something to eat.” That’s it. Quiet. Powerful. Self-assured. Simply, get up and eat. The Church for over two millennia has believed in the power of Jesus to heal. But it is quite different than what we see or saw on TV. It is much more subdued, self-assured and powerful. We take our cue from our Lord Jesus Christ; we simply come near him in faith and trust that touching the hem of his garment will do it. No smacking. No screaming. The fact that Jesus did not pilfer his power for healing, but gave it away, distinguished him in his day. We can see from Simon in Acts 8 that the ability to heal was understood as ‘magical’. It was a commodity to be possessed for the gain of the person being healed and the person doing the healing. In contrast to all of that, we have our Lord going about his own business and merely walking through the crowd and healing for free. In the wake of the decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the right of the government to require all persons to purchase health insurance, this healing for free stands in stark contrast to humanity. We still require people to pay exorbitant amounts to be healed. It is remarkable how much we require of persons to just have simple health. In many ways, the medical field and the health insurance industry is no different than televangelists. Today, as back in the day of Simon and Jesus, healing is and was a commodity to be possessed for the gain of the person being healed and the person doing the healing. In contrast to all of that, we have our Lord going about his own business and merely walking through the crowd and healing for free. There was no magical formula or forms to fill out. There is no need for any of this inhumane treatment. The One who has true power doesn’t need to beckon spirits through words. He simply is. He is simply power. He is power over the universe and its elements. He radiates that power. Notice that when the woman comes to be healed from her flow of blood, no words are exchanged. There is no rap upon the forehead. There is no scream. There is no theater. Ho-hum, everyday power, everyday healing. I used to go to the worship space of the churches I served during the week when the sun was shining through the windows and a breeze was blowing across the nave of the church through the windows. In the midst of that peacefulness, there was silence. Not that I didn’t want the people around me, but the presence of God in the silence was healing. The silent presence was and is a balm for my soul. The silent presence gives me the strength to face all the people who were constantly questioning my motives as a pastor or pastoral associate, or were not happy with what I was doing as a pastor or pastoral associate. It was in that silence and in silence today, that sheer sound of silence, that I could and can hear the Lord speaking to me. In this day and age of rapid fire TV shows and commercials, the last thing that we need is more “yak, yak, yak.” What we need is more time in the silent presence of God. If we want to build up attendance for our church worship services and Masses, do we need more bells and whistles? No, we need more time to listen in common ordinary silence. We need more time listening to how the Lord wants to touch us. We need to focus more on the Lord and less on the bells and whistles that we think will do the trick. That is why you find pregnant pauses in the Mass for those who lead it best. There are pregnant pauses between the scripture readings and the homily, the prayers and the creed, and during the collection at the offering and the presentation of the gifts. We should want to give ourselves and each other the opportunity to hear God in the everyday, common, ordinary silence. I think encountering the powerful and self-assured power of God is the difference between the mindset that only trusts and the mindset that thinks that we need to help God out a little with the theatrics. Those bells and whistles in TV healing were a trust in the theater, a little help for God to sell the idea that he can heal. It is startling contrasts to have Jesus basically say, “Get up and eat,” and we are healed. Possibly, we have all those bells and whistles because it is a frightening prospect that there is a person in the universe who is able to heal when someone just touches the hem of his garment. I think that is why we have so much de-mystifying of Christianity these days. We have popular anchors, like the now deceased Peter Jennings, do well meaning scholarly surveys to show that Jesus didn’t really say what he said or did what he did. One philosophy of our nation was that we be a place where there would be religious freedom. At the same time, there was another philosophy upon which our whole society is based, Enlightenment philosophy. Enlightenment philosophy pre-supposes that what humans cannot see, hear, feel, taste, or smell, simply did not happen. Therefore, anything which is supernatural, or spiritual, or without a physical cause and effect is found to be suspect. Maybe that is why when Thomas Jefferson published his “Jefferson Gospels”, he cut out all the miracles of Jesus. True. Jefferson, a pure Enlightenment philosopher, literally cut the miracles out of the Bible with a pair of scissors and pasted the moralisms together. What if there is a possibility that all of those miracles did happen? Why couldn’t they happen? The explanation that the Enlightenment gives is that they couldn’t happen because reasonable men and women can’t seriously believe this kind of stuff because if cannot be attested scientifically. Well, why can’t it? What says that science is about truth? Maybe science is just about facts and reality, but not about the truth of those fact and reality. What if no matter how random we make the occurrence of creation, the stuff of which the random occurrence is still made by an outside factor? No matter how many universes, or how many forms of life, there is still the possibility of God beyond that which can be known. Why are we rebelling against this? We are rebelling against it because it would eliminate the idea that humanity, with all of its test tubes and computers, is not in control. [sarcasm] If you want to put humanity into a tailspin just suggest that we are not in control. It was when Orson Wells unleashed the possibility of aliens from other planets in the 1930s attacking earth that the hysteria about UFOs took hold and has been escalating ever since. We, as a nation, were terror stricken after the radio broadcast of Orson Wells’ radio show War of the Worlds. Why? Why would we be terror stricken about a story about other beings from other planets taking over the world? It is because it presented the possibility that we were not in control. To that we Christians make a startling statement to the snickering of the people around us: Jesus is in control. That is what Jairus is banking on when he approaches Jesus to have his daughter healed. Jesus is approached because he can heal because he controls the universe. In fact, everything in the universe was made THROUGH him. That is why, even when we are not in control, we can heed the words that Jesus has for Jairus when the people mock him, “Do not be afraid. Only trust.” Why go to a doctor that you don’t trust? If you don’t trust them, then you will not follow through with the treatment and you will definitely not be healed. Jesus tells us that this is the key to being healed. It is not the magic of his word or presence. We are healed to the degree that we trust that he is capable of healing us. We want there to be bells and whistles. Maybe Jesus is telling us in essence to just “Get up and eat.” Simple anointing with oil on our forehead and the simple prayer of healing are enough for the power of God. No theatrics, just faith. No loud concert from beneath the cross, just the silence of God speaking to us. There is nothing to distract us from “only trusting” Jesus and to get up and eat. Therefore, today, I invite you to move your faith out of your head and into your heart and gut. I invite you to move from trusting in all the stuff we try to do to help, to avoid, or to evade Jesus Christ. What is it that you are trusting in other than the power of Jesus Christ in your life? He invites you to be anointed with oil and prayed over for healing after you take Communion with him today. Ask your priest and come and be healed. “Get up and eat.” Amen? Amen. This audio is under the copyright of MySpiritualAdvisor.com and may not be used, reduplicated, or distributed for commercial use without the express written consent of MySpiritualAdvisor.com, LLC. MySpiritualAdvisor.com, 2012.