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A man had an addictive habit in his life. He said: “It took me a long time, and countless failures, to realize that you can’t change your life simply by willpower. You can only change it by grace and community.” Alcoholics Anonymous has always known this. It’s not enough just to have willpower. It’s only by touching some higher power, and this is most easily done within a community, that we actually change our lives.
This seems to be in the gospel today. Grace went out from Jesus and healing. And it happened in the community of the disciples and family. A young girl had died – the beginning of her mature life. An older lady who had been ill for years The big ministry of Jesus was for healing and he healed where others did not – among women. People brought people to him, people prayed for each other as we do today, in a community of healing.
The Church needs to rediscover this. Our liturgies can be so individualistic – even how we sit separately, and often ‘pray our own thing’. The Mass is our Mass, not mine, not yours. The people at the house of Jairus and the disciples around the woman were together in faith and in prayer. We cannot be Christians on our own. Faith is personal but not private. Our gatherings need more of the communal faith, with a sincere welcome as we enter and a hope to make life better for others as we exit.
Ordinary ways too -even a hello on the street, an enquiry about a worry, a helping hand in many ways bring the healing love of Jesus as it was brought to the people then.
Become aware of how you need the healing and strength of Jesus in your life, and ask :
Lay your hands gently on me O Lord, and on all who need your healing.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me; heal me and make me whole.
Donal Neary SJ, Gospel Reflections.