God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Ps. 147: 3). In the scripture selection that is gifted to us on this 5th Sunday of the year, we are presented with the image of the brokenhearted in the person of Job and the image of the healing power of God in the person of Jesus.
The Gospel, the Good News of God, is the healing of that which is fractured, broken.
For Paul, this preaching of the Gospel is an obligation laid on him. He is compelled to do it. And while claiming not to boast of this, he does sound a little boastful in his claim that he offers the Gospel free of charge.
Jesus too is offering the Gospel, free of charge and without drawing any attention to the fact that he is doing so. Mark does not present any words of preaching in this section of the gospel, but Jesus is offering the good news of healing to all those crying out. He is fulfilling the mission of God, healing the broken hearted and binding up their wounds. The people he met did not need a sermon, they did not need any finely constructed thoughts and words of instruction or even of consolation. They needed the practical mercy of healing, the binding of their wounds.
We are all to offer the Gospel, the good news of God, free of charge. As Jesus’ followers, we should feel compelled to do so. What is this good news of God that we are compelled to offer? We get some insights into it as we read the gospels because there in the life of Jesus we see it alive and lived. The insight we can gain from today’s passage from Mark is that it is healing the ill, the broken, the possessed, and binding their wounds.
We might ask ourselves how many distraught and broken hearted Jobs we have encountered recently, either in person or on our TV screens. Have their tears and anguish moved me enough to bring them any good news? But what can I do, is a valid question. You can give me suggestions, but only I can honestly answer that question, then claim my answer and do. It is always good to remember that the first people to whom I can offer compassionate healing are those of my household, in my caring and non-judgemental approach.
For God asks me, just like Jesus, to heal the broken hearted and bind their wounds. We get the impression from today’s Good News excerpt that Jesus is touching many in a short time. I don’t need to stress about that image, because the Good News is not about numbers. If I can help to heal one broken hearted Job a day, a week, then I am truly preaching the Gospel of Jesus, which is the Good News of God.
Our God heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds, and today we, you and I, are compelled to be this Good News.
Elizabeth Ferguson, OP