From the Pastor – July 6, 2024

The woman [healed from her hemorrhage], realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” (Mk 5:33-34)

The interesting thing about the healing of the woman with the hemorrhage in the Gospel this weekend is how it happens. Jesus doesn’t actually “do” anything positive to heal the woman. She took the initiative to touch his clothes, and the power of Jesus healed her. Jesus knew that “power” (His healing power) had gone out of Him, but the healing came about through her faith in Him.

What a wonderful message for us! Since we don’t live at the time when we can actually see the incarnate Lord face-to-face, we have the assurance that our faith can be the means by which we can be healed. As Jesus told her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

So what are the means that we can use our own faith to allow Jesus to cure us? It’s through our faith in the Sacraments. There are two Sacraments that are “one time shots”: Baptism and Confirmation. And there are two Sacraments that are “lifetime Sacraments”: Marriage and Holy Orders. But there are three Sacraments of which we can avail ourselves throughout our lives: Confession, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion. Our faith in each of these Sacraments can bring us healing. The most obvious Sacrament for physical healing is Anointing of the Sick. Over the years I have spent a lot of time administering this Sacrament in Touro, Ochsner and in people’s homes. It often results in physical healing. However, it’s not primarily directed toward temporary healing, but to the remission of sins — something that is ultimately directed toward eternal life. While we can always avail ourselves of Anointing of the Sick when we are in grave health, Confession is the Sacrament that we can approach the most often. By our faith in Confession, we are healed from the disease of sin. Although we might think that physical healing is a more “miraculous” event, any physical healing only lasts until the next illness. Eventually, some physical condition will result in our death. Confessions can be even more powerful since it concerns our immortal soul that is called to holiness and union with God. But Holy Communion is even greater. In Holy Communion, we not only touch the “garment” of Jesus; we touch Jesus Himself. We come into “union” with Christ in the Eucharist, a union that is imperfect in this life (because of our sins), but points toward that perfect union of Heaven. So when we approach the Eucharist in a state of grace (forgiven from sin) and with a strong faith, we should be able to hear Jesus say to us: “your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

(Very Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty