Undefeated: Winning Over Temptation Wk 4: Love Heals
This Lent we have been discussing remaining Undefeated: Winning Over Temptation. We think that is so important that we created an entire homily series for Lent by the same name. No matter what temptations we face in life, we don’t have to let them defeat us. You can review all of the past homilies on our website saintmary.life
In today’s gospel the Pharisees give into the temptation of their own pride and refuse to see Jesus as the Messiah. They decide to remain blind. Sometimes we think it’s easier to remain blind, per se, than for us to change. That is, if we see things as they really are, sometimes we will need to change, especially if we want our situation to change, or if we desire healing of some type.
All of us struggle from some sort of wounds, and the first step to recovery is to see them for what they are and not close a blind eye to them. We all have experienced physical, mental, emotional, relational and spiritual wounds.
There are wounds that are the result of being overlooked or neglected – wounds of omission. You and I have suffered wounds because people have failed to give us what we needed, intentionally or unintentionally. These include not being understood or nurtured, not receiving appropriate boundaries or discipline or feedback, or not being cherished or delighted in. With sins of omission, our tendency is to deny or dismiss them, be blind to them.
And there are wounds of commission. They are bad things that happen to us, whether intentionally or unintentionally. They are what we typically think of as traumatic events. We know from psychological and neurological research that these wounds become permanently stored in our brains and every cell of our bodies. When probed, our brain remembers every perception and feeling associated with those experiences. Even when not conscious, these memories influence our thoughts, actions, and behavior to some degree for the rest of our life. Time does not heal all wounds. We need to seek out healing. Healing is key to living happier, healthier, more successful and significant lives. Healing, though, is not just about us. As we seek healing we will have a better impact on the people around us. Hurt people, hurt people, and we have all been hurt. Healed people, heal people.
The first step to healing is simply to be open to it. We have to accept we need healing and be open to the healing Jesus wants to bring in our lives. Another step is to listen. Jesus wants to heal the wounds in our lives but we have to listen to him. We listen for what he wants to heal in us and how he wants to do it.
Then there is the very difficult step of entering into our wounds. . We confront them but we do not enter them on our own. We invite Jesus in to heal our broken hearts, our minds, our souls.
Often the reason we don’t want to admit our hurt is because in the back of our minds we think we did something wrong or we somehow deserved it. That is especially the case when speaking of any sort of physical or psychological abuse. Certainly there are some wounds that are self-inflicted, and our healing will come from taking responsibility for them. But many of our wounds are not our fault. Someone did something to us.
Or something happened to us accidentally that hurt us and we did something in our young hearts to make it worse. Maybe you were misunderstood over something very important to you and you decided you wouldn’t share any deep thoughts with anyone ever again. But in closing your heart from the bad you have also kept God’s love out. That isn’t a sin on your part. But it is a mistake and something Jesus can help you heal if you will let him.
I’ve always wondered, when Jesus healed the blind man, why did he spit on the ground, make clay from the dust, and then smear it on the man’s eyes and tell him to wash it off? It is because God created us out of dust, Jesus now re-creates this man using a little dust on his eyes. The blind man represents us. Just as God the Father intimately created us, Jesus intimately re-creates us. Furthermore, by smearing mud on the man born blind he also requires something of him.
Jesus wants people to participate in their healing. God wants to bring his love and grace to us, but he does not do so without our consent. He wants it to be our choice. We choose whether to invite his healing grace into our lives.
So Jesus tells the man to participate by going and washing in the pool of water. The man born blind does what he is told to do. And he came back able to see.
When the blind man presented himself to the Pharisees, they too could have washed in this miracle and seen Jesus as the Messiah. But they decided to remain spiritually blind to him.
Whatever our healing, it is going to bring us deeper into our relationship with Jesus. He is what we need. He gives us himself. He heals us because he loves us and because true healing of our bodies, our hearts, our souls cannot come apart from him.
Go and wash were the instructions Jesus gave to the man born blind. He participated in his own healing once he went and washed the mud off of his eyes.
Jesus tells you today to go and fill in the blank.
Maybe it is Go and forgive because sometimes in order for us to heal we have to be able to forgive
Or Go and find counseling. Do you need that kind of healing?
Maybe it is Go and confess your sins because your wound is self-inflicted.
Maybe it is go and journal to help discover how or where we can ask for Jesus’ help.
Lastly, maybe it is go and pray for healing with a prayer team. We invite you to come pray for healing with our prayer teams who are present here today after Mass. They will be located here at the front after Mass. If you have never had anyone pray with you and for you, it can be a powerful experience.
We cannot be healed apart from Jesus but he will not heal us without our participation. Healing isn’t passive. It requires that we seek it out and do something on our behalf or on the behalf of others.
God is love. God’s son, Jesus, wants to heal you. Why? Because Love heals.