We find ourselves this Advent in a world that seems to be breaking down. A litany could encompass all ills and lands and peoples, and still feel incomplete. We find ourselves, this Advent, hurting, injured, crying out. Crying out for hope. Crying out for hope in God’s promise of healing.
The season of Advent layers time: past and future, memory and expectation, already and not yet. And God’s promise of healing is present in both layers. Part of Jesus’s ministry, as we hear in our Gospel today, was in curing every disease and every sickness. In the next chapter he will answer the messengers from John the Baptist by pointing to his own healing: “the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, [and] the dead are raised” (Mt 11:5).
This healing is also in the future—at the end of things: the time of the harvest, in Jesus’s words. The prophet Isaiah reports God’s promise that, after the day of judgment, the people of Zion will weep no more, and that the Lord will bind up the injuries of God’s people, and will heal their wounds.
So as we remember the first coming of our Savior, and we await his second, we also call to mind the healing that has already been and will yet be accomplished.
But this isn’t all. Another reality of Advent is that Jesus is here, already present among us, now. Present in Word and Sacrament, and present in the hearts of his people. Jesus is present in you, and me.
And I think this is vital because this means that God’s promise of healing is also present now. The Lord, the psalmist writes, “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Ps 147:3); heals, not will heal. Jesus sends out the Twelve to cure the sick. We as Christ’s people, after our encounter with Christ in the eucharist, are sent forth to bear Christ to the world. Equipped and set out to be agents of healing.
What in your life is calling out for healing? How are you bearing Christ’s healing presence to your family, your community, the world—and yourself? How are you being Christ’s healing presence?
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