Saturday, February 5, 2011

Homily: "Satisfy the Afflicted and Your Wound shall be Quickly Healed."


If you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday.
…and your wound shall quickly be healed;

Wait a minute what did that say? Your wound will be QUICKLY healed. Now, I’m not one who is very patient so if there is a faster way for something I want to do it. But, doesn’t time heal all things? Doesn’t it always take a long time for a wound to heal? Doesn’t God seem to move on the slow side? Does the prophet Isaiah really mean what he is saying? Can our wounds be healed quicker by helping others?
Isaiah gives us a way to heal quickly.

First, Bestow bread on the hungry and Second, satisfy the afflicted.
Now without minimizing the first part, bestowing bread on the hungry, I’d like to focus more on the second invitation to satisfy the afflicted. I have a feeling we all know the importance of bestowing bread on the hungry and think that we would do this at any opportunity. But what seems to be more common for us and more prevalent is coming across people who are afflicted.
Mother Theresa once said: “We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”

So the most afflicted are those that are unwanted, unloved and uncared for. Who are these people and how do we bring them comfort?

Who are the afflicted?
As Mother Theresa states, the greatest poverty is being unwanted, unloved and uncared for. The most afflicted in our lives are those that have no one. They are the people that seem to be estranged. Think of someone who has no family, no support system, no friends. This might even be a person that really rubs you the wrong way. They may seem distant or withdrawn or overly needy, annoying or exhausting. You may even be afraid of them, their behavior or demeanor. Someone who probably just carries a heaviness with them, annoyance, sadness, or anger. It may even be a person who is clearly struggling with alcoholism, addiction, disease or illness. It may be someone with cancer or a life-threatening disease. It may be someone at school that doesn’t seem to have any friends. A patient that you are caring for in a great deal of pain, and your tender touch and gentleness could mean the world. There are isolated elderly in nursing homes with no family who visits. It may be a boss that through his own power has isolated himself or it may be someone just socially awkward. The United States has the highest rate of teenage suicide in the world… can you imagine the burden of a teenager that thinks the only way out is to take their own life? Now that’s someone who is afflicted. Ultimately the greatest afflicted are people who think that they have no one to love them, care for them, or want them.

How do we bring them comfort?

Well I think it’s first realizing “There but for the Grace of God go I.” It’s realizing we all could be in their place or maybe at some point have been in their place. At some point or another we know what it is like to be rejected, to be left out, and to be forgotten. We know that we can face anything in life if we are loved and supported by God and by others. And maybe you even know what it is like to be left out and then have someone help you. Alcoholics Anonymous have 12 steps. And the final step, the Twelfth step is this:

Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

Having been comforted ourselves by God, our families, and our friends when we were afflicted we then carry this message to others. We actively seek and look for other people who are struggling and who are afflicted. When we do this, we will discover healing for ourselves as Isaiah proclaims.
From the AA Big Book:

Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when other fail. Remember they are very ill.

Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends - this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.

-A.A. Big Book p.89

This bright spot in our lives, helping others to see that they are wanted, loved and cared for, will be the light that rises in the darkness, our wounds quickly healing, and our invitation to live fully our call to become the “Light for the World.”

2 comments:

  1. Thanks Father for the insightful and moving words. They could not have come at a better time for me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Every day at work i spend ten hours, and almost every day when i get bored
    i open AllGamesOnline.Org and start to play some Games Online
    I hope my boss will not catch me :)

    ReplyDelete

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