When we read the Gospel, several times we are given a very important scene that establishes a very important principle for our Christian understanding of God. That scene shows that Jesus goes around to meet people; and whenever He encounters anyone who is sick or suffering for various reasons, he will give them healing. Today, we read in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 4, that the mother of Simon Peter is cured of her fever. Then “At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them.” Jesus never fails to cure and heal anyone who needs him.
As we all know, Jesus is the best image of God. Jesus affirms this when he says: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father (Jn 14:9)…. The Father and I are one.” (Jn 10:30) If we want to see the face and to understand the nature of God, we just need to contemplate Jesus. In Jesus, we see the God full of compassion and mercy. This God does not cause afflictions to people. This God embraces all people no matter who they are and what they do with an unconditional love.
I think it is important for us to be reminded of this image of God that is revealed in Jesus Christ, our Savior. As we are going thru the negative impacts of hurricane Gustav, we may hear some people say that God is bringing punishments on the country because of their sins or offenses. I remember hearing some preachers preaching that September 11th, Tsunami, Katrina, and other harmful things were punishments from God. This negative statement is certainly not a correct belief in our Catholic tradition. It is totally wrong. If God ever causes any affliction on people, Jesus – who is God Himself – will not cure or heal anyone who is afflicted. In other words, God does not contradict Himself. Our God fully revealed in Jesus Christ is not an angry, a revengeful or a mean God. Our God is the God of all compassion, mercy, forgiveness, generosity and life.
Therefore, my sisters and brothers, whatever we have gone thru and will go through in life, let us never forget that our God is the God of love who only brings healing and goodness to all people. If we go thru some dark moments of our life, let us remember to find the healing hands of God that always hold ours to lead us into the future of eternal happiness.
Joseph Viet, O.Carm.