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The cost of healing

The woman who came to Jesus in today’s Gospel was a deeply wounded person. In her case, the wound was visible. But people can be wounded without it appearing on the outside. They may carry invisible wounds – feelings of rejection, failure, worthlessness, depression, bitterness, and so on.

Even when Jesus was surrounded by people, if someone touched him and was healed, Jesus knew it. He knew it, because each touch took something out of him. In the words of the Gospel: ‘power went out of him’. To achieve success at something, we have to put something of ourselves into it, so much so, that we may feel drained afterwards. This, is especially true of healing. Healing can be exhausting and painful for the healer. The healing act itself, is often an occasion of suffering. We can’t take away suffering without somehow, and to some degree, entering into it, if only by just trying to understand the sufferer, and drawing close to them. The healer in some way must suffer. Sometimes what leads us to become healers, is an experience of having been sick ourselves and having been healed. Healers are very vulnerable and conscious of their own vulnerability. Jesus was totally vulnerable and he took their pain into himself; he suffered with each one. Our lives are continuously touching those of other people, and we are all capable of doing some healing. We may not be able to cure, but it is within our power and care. And caring is a very healing thing. With a little care we could ease a troubled mind. But it will always cost us something. But although we might feel ‘drained’, the outcome outweighs the cost! Healing is not just a task for the individual. Within our parish communities, there is so much opportunity for us to get together, work together, and support each other. If we work together in our parishes and indeed within our partnership, then healing will become a part of everyday life!

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