2 Kgs 5:14-17/ 2 Tm 2:8-13 / Lk 17:11-19
A woman accompanied her husband to the doctor’s office for his annual physical. Afterwards the doctor asked to see her privately. ”Your husband is a very sick man. His heart could give out at any time. If you want to keep him alive, you’ve got to shelter him from all anxiety and stress. Don’t argue or disagree with him. Do whatever he asks. Watch the games with him on TV. Give him a little romance. No matter what, you’ve got to keep him calm and relaxed. His life is in your hands.”
The wife left the office, rejoined her husband, and then drove home. “Well, honey,” asked the husband, “what did the doctor say?”
“He said you’re going to die.”
+ + +
We’re all going to die. But before that happens, there’s some serious healing that has to take place, not in our bodies, but in our spirits. Every one of us has been wounded in all sorts of ways: In part, by the way we were raised — what family isn’t a little dysfunctional?! In the course of time, we’ve been wounded by bad people and good people, by bad luck and good luck — by life.
There’s another kind of wound we all carry: The self-inflicted wounds of our sins. Some of them have cut deep and done great damage to our spirits. But whatever their specifics, every one of our sins comes down to the same thing: Withholding our love, withholding our gifts when they need to be given. What terrible damage that always does to our spirits: The shrinking, the hardening, the pulling away, the turning in and closing off.
(Where do most depressions and mid-life crises come from? From unhealed and often un-named wounds that we’ve failed to attend to.)
However we got them, some of the wounds to our spirit are so deep that they can seem beyond healing. But Jesus assures us they’re not. And Sunday’s Gospel shows us where to begin: By naming our wounds clearly and specifically. That’s what the lepers did: “We’re rotting away, Lord. Heal us.” Do we ever get that clear and that specific? Very rarely. And that’s bad news, because unless we name our wound and claim it as our own and nobody else’s, we’ll never be able to give it to the Lord, wholly and entirely, for His healing. We’ll never be quite ready to work with the Lord in that long, slow process by which souls are healed.
God wants every one of us to be whole, healed, and happy. So why waste one more minute just making do? Why not, instead, take time to look deep inside, see the wounds that may have been lurking there since childhood, name them out loud, claim them as our very own, and then give them to the Lord.
No doubt about it, the looking and the naming can make us sad, with all the thoughts of what might have been. And giving the hurts and wounds entirely to God will take a long time. They are so much a part of us, it’s hard to let them go! But the payoff is a whole new life. Why not let the Lord help us get started now? Name the wound, claim it, and give it to the Lord.
“Come to me all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will give you rest,” says the Lord.
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