15th Sunday OT Healing



Last week’s gospel from Mark gave us that interesting detail about Jesus’ profession leading up to the beginnings of his ministry. He was a woodworker. And we speculated a little about he might have practiced his trade. At a workbench in a shop? Or perhaps an itinerant builder out at some jobsite. That memento I offered to you last week told a fictional tale of the young Jesus working with other tradesmen on a house of a wealthy Jew.

I have a little addenda to last week’s remarks. When we were finished with this mass, I went to an outdoor dinner party in Milford and sat at a table where I didn’t know anyone. The man to my left said hello and asked where my church was. I said, Holy Spirit, out by Hamburg. He introduced himself as Rich Landry, and said he was the carpenter that built our church. Wow, what a coincidence. Considering our topic. He said it was a difficult church to build because of all of our unusual angles.

This week’s passage from Marks gospel tells us of the origins of the Sacrament of the anointing of the sick. Jesus sends his disciples out in pairs, onto the highways and byways of Judea and Galilee to heal those suffering in body, mind and spirit.

It says that they expelled demons from them and anointed many of them with oil, curing them of their illness.

This short verse tell us of something like a seminary experience for the disciples. They had to be trained. Jesus had three years to provide this training and this was a practicum. On the job training. Learn as you go. Total immersion and it reminded me of some of my seminary training. In my third year, which was 1999, I did something called CPE, or the Clinical Pastoral Experience. It takes different forms but for the most part it means going off to a summer assignment at a hospital to work with the sick, visiting them, encouraging them, praying with them and for them. Sometime praying for the families when they lost a loved one. We weren’t allowed to anoint them because that is reserved for the ordained.

All of this of course was to get our feet wet. It doesn’t come natural you know. Its something you have to get used to because you will certainly have to deal with this stuff somewhere down the line. Death and dying, and that suffering of the body, mind, and spirit.

I did ok but you know, I don’t think I was really tested. I saw some the ugliness that happens in hospitals but I can honestly say that I only saw one drop of blood in my summer assignment. Actually one timey droplet of blood on the upper lip of a man who had just passed away. I was there to pray with his family, and I saw it there and it seemed so strange being there all by itself.

My other classmates saw some much worse things than I did and it took a toll. Some found it hard to continue after that .

My most memorable experience was to visit with a young girl who was in an accident on I 75 near Troy. She and her girlfriend were in their car, not wearing seatbelts, speeding, when they went out of control. Their car I was told flipped ten times and My patient was thrown from the car. They had to search for her. They found her in a mud puddle and brought her in where she was diagnosed as needing a bath. No injuries to speak of, just dirty. I told her God must have a plan for her life.

I have not really been to harshly tested to this day. I have had my moments but still nothing to shake me down to the depths of my soul.

In my fourteen years I have administered the sacrament of the anointing of the sick for many people for many different reasons. Its suppose to be for grave illnesses or serious situations like old age or for those who have reached the age of reason who may be facing surgery.

But they told us in the seminary to be lavish with the sacrament. Give freely of the mercy of God.

%d bloggers like this: