Parish mission examines Jesus
By Kevin Kelly
Catholic Key Associate Editor
BLUE SPRINGS - Jesus was a healer because he was both God and man, said Deacon Norman Carroll.
Kevin Kelly/Key photo
Deacon Norman Carroll, right, speaks with parishioner Joe Ziolkowski following a session of the parish mission,
But making the blind see, the deaf hear and the lame walk wasn't the most important healing Jesus did, Deacon Carroll stressed during a five-day parish mission sponsored by St. Robert Bellarmine Parish.
Jesus performed those miracles to prove to a skeptical world that he could also heal souls.
"The physical healing was a symbol of the spiritual healing which must also occur," Deacon Carroll said.
Deacon Carroll and Mary Moran, of the Archdiocese of Miami, presented their five-day mission on the biblical Jesus to audiences of upwards of 100 people per night in the Blue Springs parish.
The ministerial team also travels across the country giving their Scripture-based, five-session missions to more than 120 parishes throughout the United States.
The first session explores Jesus the Person. The second session discusses Jesus the Lover, and his pure love for all of humanity. The third session examines Jesus the Teacher, not only in word, but in deed. The fourth session explores Jesus the Healer, while the fifth session examines The Risen Christ with special emphasis on the modern teachings of Pope John Paul II.
In the session on healing, Deacon Carroll said it is important to put the Gospel stories of Jesus' healing ministry in context of the times in which they were written.
"At the time of Jesus, to be ill meant that the person who was ill was a sinner," he said. When Jesus offered his healing, the Scribes were quick to call him a blasphemer, saying that the power to "heal" - that is, to forgive sins - is reserved only to Yahweh.
"They had no understanding who Yahweh was," Deacon Carroll said. "They were into hostility and into interpreting the law strictly."
Jesus healed the body to prove he could heal the spirit. By doing so, he opened the world to a new understanding of a loving God, Deacon Carroll said.
"Jesus is reversing the concept of Yahweh as a severe punisher," he said. "'No,' he is telling us. 'Yahweh is not a severe punisher. He is a forgiver and a healer.'"
But Jesus could only do that because he was "completely unified" with his Father as both God and man, Deacon Carroll said.
"Jesus would have been unable to heal without the power of Abba (his Father)," Deacon Carroll said. "Jesus trusted his Father completely because Jesus was in a unitive state as one with his Father, even as a man."
Deacon Carroll said the Gospel accounts of Jesus as healer are no less important today than when they were first written.
"All of us are ill. I hope we realize that," he said. "We need healing."
Jesus heals because he loves, Deacon Carroll said.
"It is all based on his outpouring of his pure love," he said. "This love finds its expression in wanting to heal each one of us."