I'm probably not alone in thinking these are crazy, historic times. All major sports seasons are suspended, people are working from home, we're not shaking hands, and Governor Lamont announced as I was writing this piece that all movie theaters, gyms, casinos, and dine-in restaurants would be closed for the time being. This is arguably the most that American day-to-day life has been impacted since World War II, and that's saying something! It's tempting to fall into panic, despair, and fear. This is definitely a little scary! But we have something that's much stronger than the coronavirus: Jesus, the Divine Physician.
We generally don't think of Jesus as a physician or a doctor, but in many ways He is! One of the things that helped spread the word about Jesus when He was on earth was the large amount of healings He performed. In the Gospels, we have 39 concrete examples of Jesus healing someone (including His own rising from the dead). 39! That's quite a lot. And the fact is, there were definitely more.
Matthew 9:35 tells us that "Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness." There are other verses like this in the Gospels as well which lead us to believe that Jesus performed many more healings than were recounted in detail. Okay, so we've established that Jesus healed tons of people. But what was the substance of these healings? What did they actually look like?
When Matthew wrote that Jesus went about healing every disease and sickness, he wasn't kidding! We have records of Jesus curing fevers, leprosy, paralysis, hemorrhoids, blindness, muteness, a withered hand, deafness, dropsy, a severed ear, demonic possession, and even death. You heard me right, Jesus cured death. Including Himself, Jesus raised at least 3 people from the dead!
As we see with His curing of demonic possession, Jesus was not merely a corporal physician. He was, and is, a spiritual one as well. He tells us in Mark 2:17 that "those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners." Well aren't we lucky that He came for the sinners, because I've got news for you: we're all sinners.
This is something that we should all take some comfort in during this time of global unrest. The whole world is worried about getting sick. But, in reality, we're already sick. We are all infected with the disease of sin, both original sin and actual sin (the sins we commit in our thoughts, words, doings, and undoings). Sounds a bit dark, right? But again, we have a solution (and a salvation): We have Jesus, the Divine Physician.
Jesus literally cured and defeated death, the powerful and inevitable conclusion to mortal life. If He can do that, He can absolutely cure us of the disease of sin. That's why He gave us the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We should periodically visit a doctor to make sure that our bodies are healthy. In the same way, we should periodically visit a spiritual doctor (Jesus, acting through His holy priesthood), to ensure that our souls are healthy as well.
Now don't get me wrong, we should definitely be focusing on our physical health right now. Wash your hands frequently, avoid going out in public if you don't need to, and be sure to keep 3 feet of space between you and others as much as possible. But these are not the only things we should be taking away from this situation. People being home so much more provides opportunities for family togetherness, prayer, and spiritual renewal.
This is unlike anything else we've ever experienced! We could be cooped up together for an extended period of time, so let's make the most of it. Have a bad habit that's been hard to break because of your busy routine? Take this time to root it out! Remember, we are still in Lent. Feel like you don't spend enough time with your siblings, parents, or children? There's no better time to break out some board games than right now.
We may never have another instance of so much time spent with our families under the same roof. Use it for good. Be safe, pray for the world, and make sure to try to find some alone time if you need it. Place your trust in our Divine Physician and Savior, and ask Him to watch over both your physical and spiritual health. We will get through this together. If you rely on God, He will not let you down.
I wish you all good health of both spirit and body, and I hope to give many of you a friendly elbow bump soon.