Wednesday 8 July 2020

Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Word for today
The Gospel of Matthew 10:1-7

As you go

Then He summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. According to the gospels, there is no doubt, the power to heal every disease and illness is the essential prerogative of Jesus’ evangelization model. Jesus offered this power to His disciples as the first of His spiritual gifts for the sake of the evangelical proposal and of His people. Jesus bound indissolubly the announcement that the Kingdom of God is close, that the Kingdom of love, as God desires it for us, according to the gospel’s procedures, is close, is possible now, in this very moment, on this earth, to the divine power to heal diseases and illnesses.  It is evident that Jesus, with the healing power, does not only offer the apostles a new possibility, but also the substantial prerogative of evangelization and catechesis. Jesus does not only offer a gift, a power, but the very identifying mandatory substance of the church and the divine proposal to the world.  Healing every disease and illness is not a suggestive proposal Jesus offered to His disciples, it is rather an imperative indication, essential, necessary, not separable from evangelization itself and from liturgy, from celebrating community. The process of liberation, wanted by Jesus, begins with the gift He gave to His fellows to heal people’s disease and disharmony, power that Jesus Himself has always exercised for His people’s good while journeying on earth.
As they went, this power, this task for the church, coming from the authority of Jesus’ Word itself, this imperative task for Jesus’ disciples for the sake of humanity, expired, got lost forgotten, left behind. As they went, announcing the gospel got separated from healing, from the capacity to heal man from disease and illness. As they went, what was the first of the powers, the most authoritative prerogative of the task instituted by Jesus Himself at the service of humanity, a divine power not distinct from evangelization, expired to the almost utter silence, beside the incapacity, the powerlessness and the impossibility to put it into practice, until it became absolutely separated from evangelization, liturgy faith’s life.  Instead, as they went, disease and illness became, in the religious culture, synonymous of God’s will, of divine predilection, the divine cross to be accepted for the sake of humanity and for the purification of one’s soul. Why did Jesus spent almost three years on this earth, day and night, in every town and village he visited,  healing tenth of thousands of sick and infirm people? Why did He give His disciples the power of healing as His first gift? Why did He bind so indissolubly this divine thaumaturgic power to evangelization and to church’s life, if disease and illness were meant to be God’s will and part of our liberation’s destiny?  As they went, the power to heal got lost and the meaning of disease inverted. As they went, any interest in that divine gift, any sensitivity for this service, any awakening of this divine power to heal the ailments of God’s children, became synonymous of deception, fraud, anti-evangelic heresy, reason to ridicule, scandal, persecution, denigrating removal from the church.  As we go, we went a long way far from the way. What happened as we went? What happened that we lost such a powerful gift, such a useful and vital service to humanity, so tightly connected to evangelization and church’s life?
What happened is that the “as we go” of Jesus became the making way of man. The evangelical “as we go”, synonymous of freedom, independence, simplicity, universality, poverty became making way. The gospel, born to cross all the ways of the world and fill all hearts with love and all minds with wisdom, became reason to make way, to reach power, success, money, grow personal interests and create hierarchies and submission. As we went, ambition transformed the gospel in making way. The first amongst the spiritual powers, the power to heal and drive out unclean spirits expired, got lost and evangelization weakened, losing its salt and light, while other powers and gifts became more useful to the church and to evangelization. As we went ambition turned the gospel into making way. If the church denies the other powers, it will be denied by man.
God’s love is such that if the church, Jesus’ disciples, in this very moment, could deny  making way and any kind of ambition, everything would start fresh in the bright light of the gospel.