YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 23RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: HEALING: A SIGN OF THE KINGDOM
BY: Friar Magnilay Tayo
Jesus tags the signs of the Kingdom with his programmatic proclamation: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk 4:18-19 RSV). The Kingdom of God is the reign of God’s will to men found in the original blessing set by the story of Genesis: there is harmony, peace, love, justice and the constant hope and longing for God’s will in his creation.
But, as the story goes, evil entered the scene of blessedness. Creation was snatched away from a blessed life. There is disorder in creation which rooted into the very hearts of men. The reality such as of pain, sickness, weakness and of sin came and death becomes a corruption of God’s creation and not a transition from “glory to glory”. The dread of man in these things led him to ask: “has God’s presence left me?” By this realization, we notice that human life suffers comprehensively because God has gone away from it. Or shall we say, man left God’s presence, that is, God’s Kingdom in his attendance in front of evil and sin?
This is the reason why, in the Gospel reading today, flanked by our first reading from Isaiah, provides us the answer. Jesus’ healing miracles are not simply hodgepodge, “unplanned” encounters and awe-filled spell-bounding gestures and hence “serendipitous events” at its best. They constitute a kind of statement of “rebuilding the Kingdom” by acts of redeeming away from evil clutches all humanity and creation. Jesus, when called to men and women to “repent and believe in the Gospel” tries to consolidate all strings by pulling them back to Him. The Kingdom is the re-formation into integrity ruined creation by healing which also expressed in the acts of restoration, rebuilding and integration and making it one whole new again. Here, we must hear him proclaiming in the book of Revelation: “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5).
Why Jesus heals in the gospel story is to convey to us the intent, the heart of God to restore us to the original friendship. Hence, to see this intention from the very core of God, all motives which struggles to restrain evil in life, the acts of mortifications, the disciplines we do, the healing we find in our hospitals and other wellness facilities, even the sacramental confession and the reconciliation rites of our Liturgy should take its reason from this Divine heartbeat – healing and all its forms aiming for “restorative” aims are a sign of God’s Kingdom.