"Jesus went through all their towns proclaiming good news … and making people well." - Matthew 9:35
The truth about human beings is that we're broken. The larger truth is that we heal. The even larger truth is that we heal each other. We have the power, often by the simplest of acts, to help each other heal.
The gospels' most vivid stories are about healing. We call them ‘miracles,' and they are, but not just because the lame walk the blind see, and the deaf hear. It's the way those things happen, so close, so human. Jesus lifts people to their feet, applies salve to their eyes, touches their ears.
The miracle isn't the healing. The miracle is that one person decides not to stand aloof from another person's pain. The wonder isn't that people are healed, it's that they're loved like that. The greatest need we have is to be treated with care, treated like human beings, but because that's so rare, when it happens it seems miraculous.
We say, ‘If you have your health, you have everything.' That's not true. Some people aren't healthy, but they have something many healthy people would gladly trade for—people who pray for them, accompany them, don't forget them: a circle of care. In such circles even people facing death may experience a kind of healing, even the dying find the blessing of life.
Jesus didn't heal everyone, but he showed us the new kind of life that can be ours when we don't retreat into one-person worlds. And he gathered the church as a circle of care to give that life away, hand to hand, heart to heart. It's how we heal—by the company we keep.
Encircle us with care, merciful Jesus, and make the church a healer, good company for the world.
Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.