The health of mind and body.
A lot has been written and said around the world about health. We all know that being sick is not a pleasant thing. But what is our relationship to taking care of the health of the body and the health of the soul? When we are sick physically, we seek a doctor as soon as possible and want to be healthy. But when our soul is suffering when we find ourselves in a state of sin, we procrastinate; we have no desire to be healed. This is the situation. If one of our loved ones falls ill, his illness upsets the whole family, friends, neighborhood. They seek hospital acquaintances, foreign medicines… When we know someone is mentally sick, we are oblivious, indifferent, even rejoice in his illness. Isn’t that a deplorable state?
This is precisely what Mark points out to us in the Gospel. Jesus first says to the sick man, “Your sins are forgiven you,” and then, “Get up, take up your bed, and go!” (Mk 2:9).
If we had been there at the time for this event, when the roof was opened, and the sick man was lowered down before Jesus on a stretcher, since he could not get before Jesus in any other way because of the large crowd, we would have probably also marveled at Jesus’ procedure in healing the sick man. We would have expected Jesus to respond to this confidence of both the porters and the sick man by saying, be well, get up and walk, or something like that… But we hear, “Your sins are forgiven!” (Mk 2:9). Why this action of the Lord Jesus? First of all, because Jesus wants to point out that sin is a greater evil than sickness, the health of the soul is more precious than the health of the body. By healing the bodies of the sick, Jesus shows how much He values the soul’s health. In doing so, he also explains the false notion that sickness is a punishment for sin.
We know that many spiritually healed people continue to suffer physically. By healing both body and soul, Jesus wants to show that the Son of Man has the power to forgive sins. Some think that forgiving sins is more accessible than healing the body. However, this is a mistake. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul?” (Mk 8:36). Often from the mouth of an unbeliever, we could hear that the behavior of a Christian struck him. He supposedly believes in God, yet he does not seek forgiveness for his sins.
I was once called to a dying man who had been sick for a long time and knew he was in the wrong way. But even though I went immediately, I found him already dead. And then I learned that he hadn’t been to confession in many years and wasn’t even interested in it. They called me to say that a priest gave him a church burial. No sacrament can help the dead, for there is no sacrament. The dead can no longer receive any sacrament.
The faithful are dying daily, and we may ask: Are they ready to die? Let us be concerned that our dear ones and we be prepared, that God forgives us our sins, that we go to the other world reconciled to God. It is a terrible, horrible thing when relatives worry about everything but the main thing – that the dying person puts their soul in order.
For all of us, the first and foremost condition of salvation is that we hear these words: “Son, daughter, thy sins are forgiven thee.” Let us see to it that we stand before the judgment seat of God clean, cleansed from sins, washed in the blood of Christ, and adorned with sanctifying grace, that is, adopted again as children of God. Then we need not fear the justice of God, for, by the forgiveness of sins, we have received the mercy of God. In this way, we can stand boldly before a kind and merciful Father. Let us pray for our happy hour of death that we may always be ready. Let us also pray for our brothers and sisters who are delaying reconciliation.
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