I want to talk about healing today because we heard that in the gospel and the first reading as an essential component of our faith. That, just as Jesus, when He walked around, one of the things He did, one of His miracle works, was healing. He promised us a church, when He gave us the Holy Spirit, he said, “Go forth, and you will do not only the things that I did but even greater things.” That means for you; you are his disciples. In Baptism, you were given this commission to go out and do not only the things He did but even greater things. That means that you and I are miracle workers. We can, can work miracles with our faith. But I think oftentimes we forget. I think sometimes, like the ten men, only one came back, and nine kind of forgot about it; we forget about the miracles that happened in our life.
Now, I’m truly blessed because from the moment of my birth; I had a miracle happen. When I was born, there was a blockage in my throat, and the doctors had to perform emergency surgery on me. But before they could, it was late at night, and they shaved my head and put a little IV in my head. My mother was horrified by that. There are only two pictures of me at my birth because of that. They put me in an incubator and laid me there. This was back in the time when it was very hard to be around a baby. They kept a baby very safe and secure, and they didn’t allow visitors, guests, or anything like that.
My parents were pretty distraught; they were really worried. They had just made the renewal. Some of you may have made Christ Renews as Parish here. They had just made the renewal and met all these wonderful friends. One of this pair of friends, Dennis and Marsha, who were a married couple, snuck into the hospital late at night. They came through the side, and they said, “We’re going to see this little baby.” The nurse on staff said to them, “No, you can’t; it’s only family.” And she said, “Oh, we are family; we’re her brother and sister in Christ.” So they came up to where I was in the incubator, and they asked my mom and dad to come back, and they all laid hands through those little holes; they laid hands on me in the incubator.
Marsha said to my mother, “Dee, you have to realize that Michael is a gift from God, and with any gift, we have to be willing to give that gift back, to trust God with that gift that he can do even better than we can do.” They all prayed over me, and they asked for a miracle. Marsha and Dennis left that night, and my parents came back and prayed all night. In the morning, before the operation, they did a pre-op x-ray. They took me back as a little baby, and they x-rayed me. The doctor returned to where my parents were and said, “Bob and Dee, there’s something I need to tell you. The blockage is gone.” The doctor said, “We’re not supposed to use this word, but I’ve never seen anything like it. I think it was a miracle.” Of course, it was, yes. Marsha and Dennis became my godparents. They’re my Uncle Den and Auntie Marsha. From then on, they became my godparents.
Sometimes, as a priest, I pray over people. Sometimes God gives me healings, and other times, he doesn’t give me healings. It’s the times when he doesn’t give me healings that I wonder, and I begin to doubt and think, maybe I don’t have that gift or maybe this isn’t even really a thing. Maybe God doesn’t heal. Maybe it’s all random, you know, something like that. I start to think things like that. Then I catch myself and I remember, no, from the day you were born, you received a miracle. I received a miracle from the day that I was born. I do forget that at times, but, I have to remember it. Like the ten healed, only one remembered, ‘Hey Jesus did this to me.’ I’m going to go back and I’m going to thank him. When he came back, he thanks him. He’s so profoundly grateful for what he does that he prostrates himself. He lays himself completely on the ground, gives himself totally to Jesus.
I was just thinking about that for us at St. Mathias, there have probably been many miracles. There have probably been many miracles that God has worked in this congregation. Maybe sometimes we forget about those miracles. If you look at your own life, there were probably times when God did work a miracle of healing. So, this is a little experimental, but I was just wondering if anyone that has been healed, along with myself, can do what they did in the gospel today. Lay ourselves down before God and thank him for that healing. Not only will that help secure in us the reality that, yes, God does work miracles, and, yes, my godparents and my parents did work a miracle, but it’s going to help everybody else here in the church see that grace is alive, that miracles do happen.
We’re going to take just a couple of moments of profound silence, and I invite anyone who has been healed, if you have the courage, to come up with me and lay around the sanctuary. From the bottom of my heart and anyone else, give thanks to God for the healing he has done for us. [“Some of you may need help, so if anybody sees someone needing help, feel free to help them out.” ]We’re going to do this now for a moment, lay our lives down before God, physically, and thank him for the healing that he has done in our lives so that not only we may realize it but other people, too, may see and realize that he does work miracles.
Thank you, Father, for the miracles that You have worked in our lives and for the miracles that You still work in our lives. Thank you for the witness of my brothers and sisters who has come here to give You thanks as they lay before You and celebrate this Eucharist.