To Be Healed Look Up To Him

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Our series called “Needy” looked last week at the need to rest and the need to work.  I pray that it helped us to see that work is not a curse but a calling where we can serve others and find the Lord.  God made us to work so that we could become more like him.  It is unfortunate that so many young people today, especially in Europe, do not have meaningful work.

This week we will take a look at our need for healing due to our sins and mistakes of the past.  Christianity is not about being perfect; however, our sins can help us to see the truth about ourselves, which is not an easy task.

The gospel of Nicodemus (John 3: 14-21) reminds us of an event from the Old Testament of the Jews wandering in the desert.  They were in a foul mood and were complaining to Moses about the lousy food and the lack of water.  In punishment for this God sent serpents that bit the people and many of them died.  The people repented and begged Moses to save them.  Moses prayed and God responded by telling Moses to make a serpent out of bronze and when the people looked at it they would be saved.  The Jews did as they were told and those who looked at the figure on the pole were saved.

What does this mean for us?  When there is something bothersome in life, when your schedule doesn’t work right, or one of the kids gets sick and you cannot go to work, or the situation in the office becomes unbearable, look at Christ.  He is like that serpent on the pole and when you look at him with faith he will not let you die.  To be saved one must “look on” him who is “lifted up on the cross” and believe that he is the only one who can help you, or heal you.  Don’t do it as something magical, but to look at Christ with faith; look at your difficulties with faith; don’t curse them.  We are cleansed with the water (and blood) that came from the side of Christ on the Cross.

God loves us so much he allows a difficulty to get your attention and to help you look for him.  This is the purpose of Lent we have been saying: to seek the face of Jesus Christ, to understand better how he is acting in your life.

John 3:16 is one of the most famous verses of the gospel: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”  God the Father did not hold anything back from us, he gives us his only Son, who spilled all his blood for you and me.  He is the only one who can heal us.  He has already paid the price. Healing does not come from you.  It is a gift from God.  No one can claim any credit, not matter how much a person works in the vineyard.  Good works are a result of faith; they do not earn faith, says St. Paul (Ephesians 2: 4-10).  We are God’s work of art.  Let us take advantage of the healing graces of the Sacrament of Mercy this weekend so that God can restore His image in each one of us.