The miracles of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels call for a recognition of maladies. In Luke 4:18, Jesus required the 'longing' or 'desire' for change, which in turn called the recipient of a miracle to recognize the issue at hand. Patriarch Bathalemewal asserts:
"What is of paramount importance in Christ’s ministry of miracles is not simply the conclusion or culmination of healing the suffering, but rather his eagerness and determination to convince those whom he encounters that he is feeling their suffering."
Despite setbacks of St. Paul (and all humans) found in Romans 7:22–23, it is our duty to move forward with God's law in mind. For Patriarch Bathalemewal, a recognition of the Earth's suffering (and those that dwell within it) remains primary to seeking miraculous actions from the divine. If we are to seek Holy guidance or a miracle for climate change, we must first recognize it and take active measure to fix it. While this may seem implied by those of us that expound the importance of climate action, Patriarch Bathalemewal gives it slightly more attention in his chapter for Time Magazine's new book, What Did Jesus Ask?
Patriarch Bathalemewal concludes:
"Do we at least want to be healed? In the face of global warming and climate change, are we willing—or do we resist the responsibility—to adopt simpler lives and live more frugally? Can we truly believe that a century of pumping oil-fired pollution into the atmosphere will have no ramifications on our world and no consequences for our children?"
Are we asking to be healed or simply expecting it? If we are unwilling to take part in this redemptive pursuit, we become 'active aggressors' in its repetition.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew | Time
“Do you want to be healed?”—John 5:6, ESV
When we read in the Christian Scriptures about Christ as a physician and healer, most of us imagine a miracle worker or magician, someone who might be invoked to intervene in order to solve problems. We envision a deus ex machina—a mechanical or metaphysical figure who reaches out of the heavens to alleviate tragedies and dispel controversies.
Such a perception, however, contradicts the image portrayed in the Gospels. In almost every healing miracle, Jesus first seeks to elicit acknowledgment of the circumstances that require change or demand remedy. Despite his express mission to “bring good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, recover the sight of the blind and liberate the oppressed” (Luke 4:18), he persistently underlines the prerequisite of “longing” and “desire” for the gift of “mending” or “healing.”
Who could possibly not yearn or thirst for healing? Christ’s question “Do you want to be healed?” applies to the personal as well as the public challenges that go to the core of our relationship with God, others and ourselves. Who has not prayed for a child to be cured, for a friend’s survival of cancer or for recovery from traumatic abuse? Christ’s words in John 5:6 are addressed to a paralyzed man, who patiently and persistently awaited heavenly healing beside a pool in Bethesda for 38 years. The healing challenge in the public sphere proves equally daunting. Who would not dream of a world where peace and justice prevail, poverty and suffering are overcome, and the earth’s resources are fairly shared?
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