Today at Mass the parish deacon preached about the gospel of the day (Luke 9:1-6, below) in which Jesus sent out his disciples to preach the Kingdom and heal the sick in his name. This was a real part of the early Church’s ministry but fell into disuse sometime after Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire. There is no reason why we should believe that Jesus didn’t intend this to be an enduring gift to the Church or indeed that it should be limited to holy places – like Lourdes or Fatima – or holy people like Padre Pio whose feast day was yesterday.
He encouraged all present to have an expectant faith that God’s healing power would work through them if they were to lay hands on the sick and pray for their healing as led by the Holy Spirit. He said that there was a man at a local nursing home that he visits who had lost the use of his left arm after a stroke. This looked like being permanent but the left arm started working again a week after the deacon and 3 other residents laid hands on him and prayed for his healing in the name of Jesus.
I believe in this too. No qualifications are required only an expectant faith that Jesus can work through us, his disciples.
Jesus called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all devils and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, ‘Take nothing for the journey: neither staff, nor haversack, nor bread, nor money; and let none of you take a spare tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there; and when you leave, let it be from there. As for those who do not welcome you, when you leave their town shake the dust from your feet as a sign to them. So they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the Good News and healing everywhere.
I also believe that climate change represents an enormous danger to our collective future, particularly the poorer nations who will be less able to adapt to it. Here is a recent Vatican statement.
Vatican City, 24 September 2014 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin spoke at the Climate Summit held in New York, U.S.A. yesterday afternoon. He emphasised the responsibility of States “to protect the world climate by means of mitigation and adaptation measures, as well as by sharing technologies and ‘know-how’. But above all they have a shared responsibility to protect our planet and the human family, ensuring present and future generations have the possibility of living in a safe and worthy environment”. He also mentioned the efforts made by Vatican City State to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels through diversification and energy efficiency projects, but added that “talking about emission reductions is useless if we are not ready to change our lifestyle and the current dominant models of consumption and production”. The Holy See, he concluded, “commits itself to this end, so that in this work the international community may be guided by the ethical imperative to act, inspired by the principles of solidarity and the promotion of the common good, in the knowledge that ‘the dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies’”.