Biblical Foundations • Why start with the biblical tradition? • Scripture as graced memory of community • Scripture is the story of a centuries-long relationship between God and a people • It is the record of how – with help of Spirit – people have understood their own lives and how God works in their lives • It is our story, too
Biblical Foundations • What the scriptures tell us • God creates and enters into relationship (covenant) with the created • Abraham - go to a land I will show you • Exodus – go to a land I will give you • Prophets – remind them of who they are, who I am • In order to demonstrate loving kindness and compassion
Biblical Foundations • What the Scriptures tell us (cont’d.) • God creates and relates to a people in order to: • Establish and grow covenant • Bring about wholeness, goodness, justice among peoples, with creation • Realize God’s dream for all that is created
Biblical Foundations • What the scriptures tell us (cont’d.) • Christian tradition: God enters into/becomes one with humankind in Jesus Christ • The story of closer and closer union • The reign of God is established, made visible, made active in Jesus’ mission • The reign, the dream, is one of wholeness, unity, harmony, peace, recognition, reconciliation • The mission of Jesus Christ (Luke 4:14-21) • Jesus’ mission, his reason for being, is to demonstrate and to bring about God’s dream in his person, through his words and his actions
Biblical Foundations • What the scriptures tell us (cont.) The ministry of Jesus Christ • How Jesus carries out his mission • In word: • A parable: The Good Samaritan, “A neighborly gesture” • Wrong place, wrong healer, wrong neighbors, • Healing takes place
Biblical Foundations The Parable of the Good Samaritan There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, “Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.” Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (Lk 10:25-37)
Deeds of Healing • Jesus carries out his mission in word and in deed. Many of his deeds are acts of healing. • Cure of a person with leprosy (Mark 1:40-45) • A Blind Man Sees (John 9:1-38) • A. John 9:1-23 • B. John 9:24-38 • With a little help from my friends (Mark 2:1-12)
Biblical Foundations Cure of a Person with Leprosy A leper came to him (and kneeling down) begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I will do it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.” Mark 1:40-45
Biblical Foundations A Blind Man Sees – Part A As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.” Continued next page
Biblical Foundations A Blind Man Sees – Part A (cont’d.) They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided. So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.” The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him” John 9:1-23
Biblical Foundations A Blind Man Sees – Part B So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “I do not whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” Then they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out. Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped him. John 9:24-38
Biblical Foundations With a Little Help From My Friends When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” – he said to the paralytic – “I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.” And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” Mark 2:1-12
Reflection and Dialogue • What’s going on in this story? • Act I, Act II, Act II, etc. • What is the Healing that takes place for all the participants? • Where do you see this happening in your ministry?
What do these stories of healing (and the whole story of God and a people) tell us? • As the one who brings the reign of God, Jesus heals with care, compassion, daring. • Jesus also calls others and sends them forth to proclaim and to heal. • To do what they have seen him do. • He promises to be with them. “And remember, I am with you always to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
Stories of Healing, Stories of Revelation What is really going on in all of this? • What do these healings really mean? • Revelation of • Presence of • The compassionate, healing, transforming love of God. • In Catholic healthcare, we do what Jesus did. We help to reveal God’s love, we assist in realizing God’s dream for the people we serve, for ourselves.
A contemporary expression of this: “We are called, indeed empowered, to comfort others in the midst of their suffering by giving them a reason to hope. We are called to help them experience God’s enduring love for them. That is what makes Christian healthcare truly distinctive. We are to do for one another what Jesus did: comfort others by inspiring in them hope and confidence in life. As God’s ongoing, creative activity in the world and the love of Christ make it possible for us to continue to live despite the chaos of illness, so too our work in the world must also give hope to those for whom we care. Our distinctive vocation in Christian healthcare is not so much to heal better or more efficiently than anyone else; it is to bring comfort to people by giving them an experience that will strengthen their confidence in life. The ultimate goal of our care is to give to those who are ill, through our care, a reason to hope.” (Joseph Cardinal Bernadin)