Continuing his connection of the Great Jubilee at the time of Isaiah to the time of fulfillment announced by Jesus, Gray explores the tangible signs that the Kingdom of God is at hand. The Great Jubilee was a time of release…release from slavery…release from debt. Jesus also releases the people he encountered. He frees them from physical ailments and deformities, he frees them from possession and the control of the evil one, but most importantly he frees them (and us) from sin. The miracles he performed were to establish his authority for that which was greater…forgiveness of sin and reconciliation with the Father.
At one point in the chapter, Gray recalls the woman with a hemorrhage who touched Jesus and, without him knowing who it was, power went out from him curing her. Many others had been pressing in on Jesus, but this women alone was healed. Why? Gray says, “she alone makes contact with Christ in faith.” A valuable insight for all of us. When we approach Christ with faith, our trust and belief, opens wide the flood of graces and the depths of the healing power of Christ. Isn’t this the wonderful message of Saint Faustina and her conveyance of God’s Divine Mercy and her simple prayer, Jesus, I trust in you!
– Deacon Ralph
This chapter offers much food for thought. Christ used words such as “rise”, “be clean”, “be freed”, when performing miracles, illustrating that in Christ, the unclean is conquered. But don’t overlook the cautionary element of this chapter. The hemorrhaging woman, of all the multitudes that pressed in and upon Jesus (many of whom we can assume were somehow suffering in some way) was the only one “freed” by her contact with Him, simply because she alone reached out in faith. Her FAITH is what unlocked that healing grace, without any direct action from Christ. An automatic response. We are smart enough to understand that sometimes what is going on within us spiritually can manifest in physical ways and we literally become ‘sick’. If we are consumed with (enslaved by) sin, that bondage inhibits our ability to reach out in faith. It holds us back and puts distance between us and God. The author mentions in the questions at the end of this chapter that we touch Christ in the Eucharist. This should give us pause and inspire stiff self-examination. Think about it. We, as Catholics, believe that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of our Lord. The real deal. Every week we too TOUCH Christ. The fruits of that contact will tell us much about the progress we have yet to make in our faith journey.
Gray lists several discussion questions at the end of each chapter. Feel free to comment on any of those questions or on this chapter in general.