Today’s Gospel: Luke 5:27-32
Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
I went to the hospital yesterday to visit a woman who has always been like a sister to me. She has been in the hospital for weeks, undergoing testing and blood transfusions and trying to avoid major surgery. Last week, surgery could no longer be avoided. Because of ulcerative colitis, this 38-year-old woman had her entire colon removed so it would stop attacking her every time she put food in her body.
In making the decision whether to have surgery, my friend (I’ll call her Bridget) was concerned about the lifelong implications of losing her colon. All sorts of very real and very practical worries plagued her, delaying her decision about surgery and causing her health to deteriorate further. Her surgeon, a kind and faithful woman, finally looked my friend right in the eye and said, “You’re absolutely right that your lifestyle will change after surgery. But Bridget, you don’t know what it’s like to feel healthy! You’re preoccupied with nonessential details and losing sight of the fact that, for the first time in decades, you will no longer feel sick all day, every day.”
Today’s Gospel reminds me of my friend. Every day for years, her health had dictated how to eat, when to leave the house, and how to spend time with others. For the first time in her adult life, Bridget now has the chance to be healthy. She has been so accustomed to feeling ill that she almost lost sight of the fact that she could become healthy. The Pharisees could learn something from Bridget. They had become so entrenched in their suffocating lifestyle that they too risked losing the chance to be released, to be healed by Jesus.
Sometimes I’m tempted to think, “Oh, I can put off going to Reconciliation for another week or two; I’ve been doing pretty well.” Then I think of my friend, I think of the Pharisees, and I ask the Lord to show me the dark and sinful places I’m not even seeing anymore, because I’m so used to them.
What unhealthy practices do I just accept these days? Is it time to ask Jesus to enter these dark places and heal me?
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
We thank our friends at The Word Among Us for providing our gospel reflection team with copies of Abide In My Word 2015: Mass Readings at Your Fingertips. To pray the daily gospels with this wonderful resource, visit The Word Among Us.
Copyright 2015 Grace Mazza Urbanski