In the light of the actions of Jesus and Paul we learn of self-fulfilment only insofar as we are willing to fulfil others. Both Paul and Jesus teach us that by reaching out to others we can turn our own lives around. We reach the highest level of achievement by enabling others to reach their proper level. We are never isolated individuals but always community members.
To heal is to be healed. It is useful to examine our innate reactions to such an idea. For example, we seek to be comforted and consoled, yet often forget that we must comfort and console others. We are eager to have others encourage and energise us, yet often neglect to encourage and energise others. We want others to turn our lives around, yet we are often reluctant to turn the lives of others around. In Christian teaching, however, to heal is to be healed.
In the second reading Paul views his own salvation through the prism of the salvation of others. Although he has many rights accruing to his apostolic office, Paul resolutely thinks in terms of his obligations to his communities. He even turns his weaknesses in the direction of saving the weak. He becomes all things to all people so that he may save at least some of them. For Paul, to preach the Gospel is to place himself at the service of all. According to Paul to heal is to be healed.
Mark presents a Jesus upset by everything that opposes and depresses the human spirit. He demonstrates that Jesus’ mission was to heal broken bodies and broken spirits and, in that process, to find his self-fulfilment. Peter’s mother-in-law is symbolic of not only Jesus’ stance but also the stance of the disciples. The only way to experience healing in the full sense is to heal others: ‘Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them’. As Mark sees it, the Good News is satisfying only because others are satisfied. To heal is to be healed.
For example, husbands and wives who sustain each other by constant encouragement and hope experience healing. Teachers who devote particular attention and care to the slower learners are aware of being healed. Those who counsel and sustain those afflicted by alcohol and drug abuse know the sense of being healed. Those who continue to provide sympathy and understanding long after the funeral come to know that they themselves are being healed. In these and countless similar cases one’s salvation means the salvation of others. To heal is to be healed.
For example, Eucharist views the bread and the wine as instruments of healing. They reflect the life of Jesus who found healing in the resurrection because he sought to heal others in a life that culminated in a violent death. The Eucharistic gifts urge the worshipping community to communicate that sense of healing to the broken members of their community. To eat and drink with Jesus means to arise and bring healing to the broken sisters and brothers of Jesus. In Eucharist, too, to heal is to be healed.
Canon Francis Brown