In Sickness and In Health...
It finally happened- I got my wisdom teeth removed! I've never had surgery, and so, I was pretty nervous to go "under the knife" for even a rudimentary oral surgery. I heard that it isn't so bad, and that before you know it, it's over. They put you to sleep, and once you wake up, you are home free! I, however, am an extremely light sleeper. Before the day of the surgery, I worried myself over accidentally waking up in the middle of the procedure, screaming, and then, shocking my doctor enough that he looses his grip and mistakenly slices my mouth off! Ok...ok...maybe that was a bit gory...but you get the point- I was a little (alright, Very) anxious about the surgery. I prayed through my irrational fears, entered the operating room the next day, and to my pleasant surprise, I did, in fact, sleep through it all not feeling a thing...until I woke up.
I felt like my face was as big as an elephant's. My left eye had a hard time opening, but through the slit of my right eye, I was able to see the concerned face of my husband sitting at my side and holding my hand. He saw my one eye opening and waved saying, "Hey love, how are you feeling?" Still in a daze and heavy stupor, I could neither fully wake myself up nor speak. My head collapsed yet another time.
When we got married, the vows we spoke were, "I, AJ/Carrell, take you, Carrell/AJ, to be my wife/husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life" (Rite of the Sacrament of Matrimony). It is so easy to love someone in good times and in health, is it not? Everyone is in a joyful mood, and it doesn't require too much from us to "...love those who love you..." (Luke 6:32).
It is in bad times and in sickness when the love of others can truly shine, because it takes compassion, patience, perseverance, sacrifice, and faithfulness to endure these difficult moments with one's beloved, to suffer with those who suffer, and to love those who do not love you in return. Over the last four days, I have seen my husband drive miles to get me soup, keep an attentive eye on the clock to ensure I took my medication on time, replace my ice pack every thirty minutes, fill my water cup, and continuously check up on me to see if there is anything else I needed. Just rudimentary oral surgery, nothing too serious but yet, his painstaking care for such a minor recovery revealed his great love for me.
Is this not how Christ loves us? ...how Christ loves You?
The Pharisees ridiculed Jesus for eating and spending time with sinners. When Jesus heard this, He said, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners" (Mark 2:17). The love God has for us is unconditional. He doesn't choose to be with us only when things are good or when we are "sin free." Christ loves us especially in the midst of our pain and in times of great suffering and sickness. When we are weak, He is made strong, and He does not expect perfection from us. Rather, He calls us to seek perfection through Him.
In today's daily mass reading, Jesus drives out a demon from a once mute man and cures "every disease and illness" because His "heart was moved with pity for them" (Matthew 9:32-36). In our misery, God is near. In our sickness, He heals. In our sorrows, He comforts. In our sin, He loves. He does not shy away from suffering like many others do. His love is constant not in spite of but especially in bad times and in sickness. His heart moves for us.
Like my husband, Jesus is right by your side and gazing attentively at you. He is deeply concerned with your well being, and He wishes to care for you even in the littlest of ways. His love is great!
To love deeply requires sacrifice. My husband spent a lot of time, money, and effort to care for me.
God sacrificed His Son for you, for His people. Jesus sacrificed His pride to become like one of us. He sacrificed His riches so He could walk amongst the poor. He sacrificed His popularity so He could speak out against injustice and point people towards the truth. He sacrificed His time so He could heal, listen, console, befriend and love those He encountered. Jesus sacrificed His life so that we would be reconciled and redeemed.
Jesus suffered greatly for us, and while many of us like myself try to avoid pain at all cost, He chooses to endure it to save us.
How have you sacrificed your time, talents, and treasure for the good of others? Can you remember a time when someone showed you great love despite the costs to themselves? What does the sacrifices of Jesus Christ mean to you?
Healing is involved in every miracle Jesus performs. Not everyone is cured, but certainly those with great faith are.
We, too, are called to be an extension of God's healing touch to those around us. Just because we are not doctors or possess any miraculous, healing power does not mean that we cannot heal in different ways- a friendly smile, a listening ear, a warm hug, words of encouragement, prayer, and others. My husband aided to my healing largely by his loving presence.
Take a look around and see through the lens of Jesus. Notice just how many sick people there are who suffer physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Who are you called to share God's healing with? What areas in your life do you need God to heal?
In bad times and in sickness, may we be people of hope, healing and most importantly, great love!