16 February 2009

The Physician

"Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick." (Mark 2:17a)

"Those who are well" is one word in Greek: ἰσχύω (ē-skhü'-ō). It means those of sound health but is also used to mean strong or powerful. "Sick" is the Greek word κακῶς (kä-kō's), meaning ill or diseased, but also miserable. As with any language words have literal and figurative meaning.

Who did Jesus say this to? The scribes and Pharisees. They had power and considered themselves strong in the faith because they were strict observers of the Law. So did they need Jesus too? Of course they did.

I always looked at this verse to mean that broken people need Jesus the most of all. Well, that is true, but I also see another meaning here. They "have no need" for healing, not in the sense that they don't require it, but that they don't see any use for it.

The Pharisees considered their works enough, so a savior wasn't necessary. Pride blinded them to the sickness of sin within them. The addiction to control and order made change seem unnecessary, even threatening. The towers they built to protect themselves from the unclean became prisons that kept them from true healing.

How often do we reach a level of devotion and religiosity and feel like we've "arrived"? We are whole and can cruise through the rest of our lives saying the Rosary, going to Sunday Mass, and even popping by the Adoration chapel now and then. Wrong. Refusal to keep growing leads to decay, like a body that breaks down due to inaction.

It is vulnerability that brings liberation from this prison. Grace comes crashing through and our wounds are exposed. We realize that we are broken and in need of healing. Then our acts of devotion become part of our healing. Then the Sacraments become medicine to our souls. The Church becomes a spiritual hospital.

If we recognize our sinfulness, admit our frailty, and face our wounds then salvation makes sense. We will hear the Lord calling for us to follow Him. We will leave everything to sit at His table.

Originally posted to a private Bible Study group I am involved with.

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