anointing of the sick

The Healing Found in Jesus

by Father Brian J. Soliven on Sunday February 4, 2024

Growing up Catholic has been the greatest gift my parents could have given me. Even though I would not have recognized it as a bratty, stubborn kid, they gave me a foundation without realizing it. Going to Mass each Sunday exposed me that there is something in the universe greater than myself. It rooted me to a 2,000 year old history that spans empires, kingdoms and cultures. It subconsciously whispered into my little brain that there’s more to life than what I see on the surface. Or as the old Transformer cartoon I watched religiously on Saturday mornings told me, there’s “more than meets the eye.” 

My Catholic faith told me I am more than a beast. I am loved, willfully desired into being, whose value shines more brilliantly than a thousand swirling galaxies. My public school upbringing paid no attention to my burgeoning soul. As caring as my teachers were, God talk was an anathema, barred, and poo pooed. I am a mere byproduct of random genetic mutations that somehow learned to walk upright and speak. I am a primate with less hair and an iphone. Then on Sundays, a ray of sunlight would pierce the clouds. “You are created in God’s image and likeness,” I was told (Cf. Genesis 1:27). There’s more to you than the endless pit of more money and things. In fact, more glorious still, I was told I was created for the worship of Him who created me. My desirous heart that was designed for Him but has been infected with a terminal  ancient disease that corrupted my transcendent purpose earthward. Instead of the Heavenly banquet, I settled for stale breadcrumbs. The world lured me away from my God; I forgot who I was. I allowed strangers to tell me my worth. 

In the cacophony of confusion, God set forth a rescue mission to pull me from the pit. “When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman…” (Cf. Galatians 4:4). God sent his beloved Son? I say again, God sent his most prized, precious Son. He united this weak human flesh of mine to himself and walked among us. As if that was not enough, Jesus would pick up my heavy cross and yours and carry it all the way to Calvary as the crowds hissed and spat on his body. 

I give thanks to my parents for this gift of gifts. Without them I would be lost and tossed about by the relentless waves of this world. But most of all, I give thanks to Jesus who gives still more. At every single Mass, the same Risen Jesus comes. The same ritualistic Mass of common gestures and prayers, the Mass of kneeling and standing, the Mass we’ve grown accustomed to and maybe even a tad blasé, still triumphantly proclaims in every century and creature: you have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering, and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect, and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.