Monday, October 14, 2013

Homily - "Christ can heal you"

Click HERE to listen to Sunday's homily.

Two themes from tonight's readings: thanksgiving and healing.  First, thanksgiving. In the first reading, Naaman gives thanks to God for being healed of his leprosy through the man of God, Elisha. He offers Elisha a gift, but for whatever reason he refuses it. I have been like Elisha the past four years in terms of not accepting financial gifts from GW Catholics for all of the free food we offer you. Well, this year, I think I will accept gifts of thanks from you / your parents.  It's going to be a great challenge to raise enough money to meet our largest budget to date, and  I need your help.
A couple of weeks ago, parents of a student sponsored a Tuesday dinner for $300. If your parents can do the same or at least partially sponsor a dinner or Food After Mass (which costs us between $300-$500 each time), that would be a huge help.  If they are coming for Parents Weekend next weekend, they can drop a check in the special collection for the Newman Center at the 11 am Mass.  If not, they can mail a check to us made out to the Newman Center.  I give thanks for your thanksgiving!

Healing. We hear amazing stories of healing of leprosy. The cool thing about the Gospel story is that Jesus heals the lepers on their way to the priests. It was Old Testament ritual that when lepers were cleansed, they would show themselves to the priests to be brought back into the community. Lepers were cast out of society; they were outside of the community.  Priests brought them back into the community.  This is similar to when we are outside of the community through mortal sin.  Mortal sin excommunicates us; it takes us out of the community. Confession brings us back through the priest; it reconciles us to God and to the Church. It is one of the healing sacraments.

There are so many forms of healing in the Church, and we have been introducing you to many of them the past few years.  We have has Healing Masses once a semester when we bring in a priest, and he and I pray over students at the end of Mass.  We have the same healing power as Christ as a result of our ordination.  It's been new for students to be prayed over, and it might seem a bit hokey, but it's the same healing power that we read about in the Gospels.  It is possible to be healed by Christ physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually in the 21st century.

Students I've worked with have experienced healing in these areas. It's happened in the chapel when I've prayed over them and blessed them with the Holy Eucharist in the monstrance.  Emotional or spiritual wounds have been healed.  It's happened for other students on our retreats. We use the story of the woman with the hemorrhage (Luke 8) who was healed by Christ after going to doctors and counselor for 12 years.  She simply touched Christ's garment and her wounds were healed. So it has happened for students here who have wounds from family, relationships, addiction, etc.

We have many resources on healing for you.  One book called "Holy Hands" tells amazing stories about healing through priests. Another is called "Healing of Families" which helps people to work through family bondage or family tree wounds. I will order another one about a priest who has the gift of healing the diseases of babies which is the coolest thing. Our man on Thursday nights, Brother Richard, will focus his Bible study on healing for several weeks, starting a week from this Thursday.  He will present how the Word of God can heal us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  I just ask you to be open to all of this, and how Christ can truly heal you like He heals people in the Gospel.

Finally, back to thanksgiving. Only one out of ten lepers returns to give thanks to The Lord.  This is about the same percentage of college students that go to Mass.  When we come to Mass, we give thanks to God; the word, "Eucharist", literally means thanksgiving.  The Lord was so happy to see the one leper give thanks that he said, "your faith has saved you". How happy is The Lord to see you here tonight! Give thanks to God every day of your lives. You have so much for which to be thankful.  Studies show that people who give thanks regularly are the happiest and healthiest people on earth.

Give thanks to God throughout and after Mass. What happens on the altar is the fulfillment of the Jewish Passover in which the Israelites gave thanks to God for all their blessings, and particularly for saving them. Give thanks to Jesus for saving you on the Cross. He went through hell for that you might go to Heaven.  Say, "thank you, Jesus" often. And, then, when you receive the Eucharist - His Body and Blood! - give thanks throughout Holy Communion for this incredible gift. And, really, give thanks after Mass for all that you just experienced.  One saint said, " if we really understood what happens at Mass, we would die of joy".  In your thanksgiving, may you hear The Lord say to you, "your faith has saved you. Your thanksgiving has saved you".

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