I’m often amazed how the slightest infirmity draws my attention. If I’m feeling good, I don’t usually notice anything…”hey, I’m feeling good”. Yet if any number of things go wrong, “wow…. this is not good”. The “hurt” can run from a paper cut on my finger, to an ingrown toenail, to a headache, a backache, or more serious ills. Recently my ears have been clogged up; I’m in an “echo chamber”….. all my attention seems to be on the fact that I can’t hear well. We are so vulnerable. We have a very delicate balance…when it’s off slightly, we are out of sorts. The scripture from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians sheds light on this phenomena.
“ ….. the body is one and has many member …. for the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body… and if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. .… there are many parts, yet one body. …. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (1Cor. 12:12-26)
If one member suffers, all suffer together. It’s true for our own physical body, but also for the body of Christ. When a friend is going thru a sickness, we suffer with them and pray for them; we try to help them get through it. Maybe we pray with them or take them out for a beer or coffee or say the rosary for them. We think about them and what they’re going through. We rejoice when they recover or mourn when they don’t. We’re affected by their suffering… we’re not in balance when they are suffering. We ask Jesus to help them… over and over again.
I guess this is most amplified when a close friend, a spouse, a sibling, etc., is seriously ill …. is even terminally ill. We want to be “with them and for them” in their desperate hour. We are hurting as they are hurting. Lord help them, heal them, be with them, watch over them, comfort them…Jesus save them.
In all of this I think we get a clearer picture of why Jesus came. He came to conquer Satan, sin, and death; He saw clearly how awful they were. He didn’t want to leave us the victims of sickness and death. He wept over the death of his friend Lazarus, he raised others from the dead, he healed sicknesses, he conquered the source of these tragedies…sin and the devil. He came to set us free.
The ultimate victory will be manifested when he returns. In the meantime, he is with us in our sorrows…. healing and comforting, calling us to have hope … reminding us that he will have the last word about sickness and death, and it will be healing and resurrection to eternal life. And that is very good news.