Healing Zion

While hearing the reading of Scripture during Mass today it reminded me of the article I presented to you about a week ago The thick of the Storm where I had touched on the theme of God’s power to heal and how healing the Church and the world is one of the consequences of the storm that has been raging for some time now. Well, the theme of today’s Mass was also healing. But before we go into that I have something remarkable to report. I arrived quite early for my Mass and the previous Mass was already in progress. I stood in the back of the Church by a rather large image of Jesus the Redeemer that is positioned with open arms receiving those who enter that church. While standing there I had a thought of praying the Rosary to use well the thirty free minutes I had before the start of the next Mass. Suddenly I realized that I had left my Rosary at home. I thought of buying one of those inexpensive plastic Rosaries from one of the vendors outside that Church but they had folded their tables and were gone. I had just finished that thought when I noticed a white plastic Rosary at the feet of the huge statue. Still surprised by this miraculous solution to my problem I picked up the beads and proceeded to the area in front of the altar where the priest was blessing various objects presented to him by the faithful. I showed him my newly found beads. So seconds after wishing I had one of those plastic Rosaries I not only got one instantly, I also had a chance to have it blessed! Divine Providence was active today!

So these were approximately the Scriptures we read at Mass today…

Isaiah 35:1-7 — The Lord heals Zion

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.
Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
“Be strong, fear not! Behold,
your God will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a hart,
and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

When I hear this passage my mind usually wanders and I remember the lush cold rainforest of Appalachia. I like to imagine the bleak landscapes of the Middle East will look like that. My mind is filled with questions: Will this happen instantly and miraculously? Will it take some time for these marvels to take place? No matter how long it takes, I am sure the final result will be breathtaking. The Lord healing the land, growing a paradise in the same place where men are now growing a desert. What a contrast!

Psalm 146:5-9 — The Lord brings justice to the oppressed

Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps faith for ever;
Who executes justice for the oppressed;
Who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the sojourners,
He upholds the widow and the fatherless;

but the way of the wicked He brings to ruin.
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.

The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
“Be strong, fear not!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a hart,
and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy.

For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

When I heard this part I could not help thinking of Fr Gordon MacRae, now at the end of his second decade behind bars after a shameful kangaroo trial. I am convinced by now that we are entering the thick of the storm and soon total darkness will be upon us and who knows what perils and trials we will have to endure as the persecution against Christians intensifies. In a way Fr Gordon may end up being one of the few Christians kept in a safe place while the rest of the world turns into a battlefield. In my imagination I can see him being released by angels, just like it happened to St Peter in the first century. What a wonderful set of promises is contained in this Psalm. There is no need to fear for the Lord will be with us until we reach the other side. This is not wishful thinking, God inspired that Psalm and He won’t fail to make it come true, vengeance for the wicked included!

Mark 7:31-37—Jesus cures the deaf man

Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of the Decapolis.  And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they besought him to lay his hand upon him.  And taking him aside from the multitude privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, “Eph′phatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.

This and the healing of the blind man of Jericho are the most striking examples of Jesus power to save mankind. The man lived in a world of silence but he runs into the Logos and the first thing he hears is the Word of God Himself talking him into complete health!

The readings of today seem to point at what is waiting for us beyond the storm. When darkness passes and the promised era of peace begins, all of our senses will be restored to justice. We will need eyes to see, ears to hear, and a mouth to glorify God for keeping us safe through these trials and restore the world to His peace and love.

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