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The Church as Field Hospital

– Monday of the 5th week of Ordinary Time –

When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. [Mark 6:54-55]

Well, Jesus has certainly developed a name for himself! After feeding the five thousand, and then retreating via boat to battle a storm on the seas, Jesus and his disciples land on solid ground again and there is an immediate groundswell of business. People are “rushing about” the whole region, and bringing their sick to Jesus. Think of the buzz and excitement this must have caused in the community!

To go to the effort to take the sick from the comfort and calmness of being looked after and tended to in their own homes, and bringing them out into the bustling public domain, seems a little unbelievable to me. How could so many people have been so willing to disrupt their ordinary day to come and meet Jesus, probably only on the whisper that he was in town? Whether it be that tens or hundreds of people made the effort to come out and meet Jesus in the hope of healing, speaks to me of a great amount of hope and faith in the people of this region.

And Jesus does not disappoint! All who were brought to him were healed – some by simply touching his cloak! Jesus’ love, healing and mercy was distributed far and wide to all those who reached out to him.

I challenge you to ask yourself what our parish communities would look like if we had the same energy and urgency to bring our sick to Jesus as the people rushing about in today’s gospel. What would it look like for each one of us to bring the people we know in our lives who are sick or wounded (whether physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc.) to Jesus for healing? What would it truly look like for our Church to operate as a “field hospital”, commissioned and open for the healing of the sick, as Pope Francis has called us to?

by Melissa Ledwich

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