Healing Touch
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

Some people are gifted with a healing touch while others are gifted with a green thumb. Our gardener has both a healing touch and a green thumb. She can set bones, massage away pain as well as make plants and flowers flourish. In our culture such healers are sought after. The best ones are those whose sensitive touch can alleviate even a baby’s pain. One can tell a good “hilot” or bone setter by the queue that usually forms in her yard. There are no fixed fees. The patients give any donation they can afford. A common characteristic of these indigenous healers is that they see their healing power as a gift from God. Prayer is a part of their healing ritual.

Action starter: Your hands are Jesus’ hands in this time and place. Extend His healing touch.

Such a healing touch was shown by Jesus in the Gospel story. A man who was deaf and had a speech impediment was brought to him for healing. Jesus touched his ears and his tongue and uttered “Ephphatha” ( Be opened), and immediately the man’s ears were opened and his speech impediment was removed (MK 7: 34-35). Jesus’ action was a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in the first reading, “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the dumb will sing,” (Is. 35: 5-6)

The church continues this healing activity of the Lord in many ways. The proclamation of the Good News is oftentimes accompanied by healing activities. Even in its early beginnings, proclamation and healing action often went together. Peter cured a cripple (Acts 3:6) Philip went preaching and healing (Acts 8:7) Even Saul who claimed his priority was to preach, effected cures (Acts 14:10 ) (Acts 28:8).

Healing does not only take place on a one-on-one level. Communities as well as individuals need the healing touch. Communities can also suffer from dysfunction so that they cease to be life-nourishing. There are depressed communities. These communities may be suffering from extreme poverty, or have suffered a calamity of nature or calamity of war.

That communities may be invigorated by a healing touch may be seen in the works of “Gawad Kalinga” (Give Care) a movement to provide decent housing for the poor with the help of volunteers. Tony Meloto’s vision of affirming the human dignity of the slum dwellers through self-help and cooperative ventures, led to a whole movement around the country. Owning and living in a good house amidst a community of friends became the healing touch that improved the quality of life of the beneficiaries as well as those who volunteered their time and personal resources to the project.