Roman Catholic/Methodist/URC - 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Anglican - Nineteeth Sunday After Pentecost, Proper 25
Today's liturgy of the Word is about healing and faith. It is clearly Bartimeaus' faith which leads to his healing. For us as FACT healing and issues surrounding it have very much been at the forefront of our minds for about 9 months as we wrestled with the Healing on the Streets proposal. For many people the idea of healing coming direct from God is what it is all about, without any human intervention, For others it is the intercession of the person praying for healing that is important. Reconciling these two views and dealing with other associated problems with the idea of healing has been one of the hardest things which we have had to face as an ecumenical instrument.What was clear was that people do believe that Jesus' healing is not just confinded to the Gospel accounts but the fact that it is not always visible and that it does not always come is a source of great distress and needs to be treated with sensitivity. Maybe today we should ask what would the blind man's attitude have been had he not been healed?
What today's Gospel tells us is that however we view healing, it is Christ who is healing and that there needs to be faith on the part of the person seeking healing. Despite what his friends are telling him, Bartimeaus still goes for healing and is rewarded. We and those who seek the ministry of the Healing on the Streets team, need to realise that sometimes healing will not take place. As the leper in another story says to Our Lord, "if it is your will you can heal me ", if we are aware that no matter how strong our faith sometimes the Lord wills that we are not healed then we will not be disspointed, and will be able to see this as part of our faith journey. That doesn't mean that it won't be hard for those people to hear of the miracles of healing that have taken place.
Our role as Christians is to help those who may try and get healing and not receive it either immediately or in the long term, see that it is no reflection on them or indeed on the Lord. We need to encourage their faith and encourage them to do what Batimeaus does and follow Christ, no matter what the healing result is.