Nothing characterizes the coming of the Kingdom of God more than healing. Jesus’ ministry builds upon a foundation of bringing healing to the sick, and, through exorcisms, peace to those afflicted in mind. Even John’s Gospel, which gives an entirely different approach to the story of Jesus, has the cure of the man-born-blind as one of its highlights.
To a large extent, most parishioners do not see the sacramental healing ministry of the parish. Priests visit the sick in hospitals and homes, performing powerful signs through the Sacrament of the Sick—but most parishioners don’t see this.
I wholeheartedly believe that the more our parishes look like the Gospel, the more compelling they will be in drawing people to the Kingdom through involvement in the Church. What would it look like for a parish to move “healing” near the top of its agenda? I think it might take the following forms:
These ideas are just starters. With reflection we can see that healing can and should be a visible, basic foundation of parish life. Once we see that, we’ll more easily see how we are carrying on the project Jesus started two millennia ago, and that continues through the work of his Spirit in our lives.