Tag Archives: Sickness

5th Sunday of the Year: Living our faith in the context of suffering.

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Study: Reflect upon an experience of suffering.  How did your faith help you face it?

Pray: Are you or someone you know facing pain or loss?  Pray that God gives the grace needed to face it.

Serve: Walking with others on their journey of anguish demands time and attention.  Are you being called now to assist someone in need?

Mass Readings – 5th Sunday of the Year

Let’s take a look at these readings:

  • 1st Reading – Job speaks from his anguish and misery.
  • Psalm – “Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.”
  • 2nd Reading – Paul states his need to preach the Gospel.
  • Gospel – Jesus heals the sick and preaches to the people.

On the surface of these readings we see the obvious – there are times when we encounter suffering.  Whether it’s body, mind, heart or soul…most people on more than one occasion are brought low by pain, struggle or loss.

What’s more, there is no “spin” in the Bible.  Instead, we repeatedly see in the Scriptures a raw look at the challenges people face without trying to explain away the hardship.  It’s almost as if the Word of God seeks to remind us that the journey of life often stops in places of anguish.

We might be tempted to ask the Lord why.  We might try to find reasons why a good and almighty God allows it.  Such a reaction is normal and typical.

Here’s the problem.  Many of the hardships of life have no easy answers or simple explanations.  Much of life is a mystery, and many things will not be explained until the day we stand before the Lord when all is revealed.

Suffering by itself serves no purpose, yet we often recognize that there are many times we “suffer” for something greater:

  • The athlete who suffers in practice to perform in competition
  • The student who suffers in study to perform academically
  • The employee who suffers with work to complete a challenging project
  • The friend who suffers for a loved one to bring help and comfort
  • The parent who suffers for a child to show compassion and care

You get the point.  We often embrace suffering because we recognize that there is meaning and purpose in much that is difficult, challenging and hard.

But what about when we don’t understand?  One of the most helpful questions I have ever found in the face of suffering is this:

How does my faith help me face this?

For remember, when our lives are focused on the Lord all things – even suffering – fit into a proper perspective.  Christ’s suffering on the Cross breaks the bonds of sin and death; Christ’s resurrection shows us that there is something far beyond the realm of pain and loss.

As Jesus healed and preached Good News we call upon our faith to help us face the difficulties of life with strength.  Perhaps we will not know why suffering happens, but God will give us the grace to learn how we will face it.

Note: This post was first published on January 28, 2018.


Daily Mass: God's grace gives us hope. Catholic Inspiration

The Scripture readings today all reference human hardship: suffering, battle and illness. Yet through it all we have hope as we see how God gives us the grace we need to overcome these challenges every time we turn to Christ.

Mass Readings – Monday of the 4th Week of Lent

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


Daily Mass: Facing our fears. Catholic Inspiration

St. Peter’s call to Jesus across the water offers us a number of aspects of fear as it appears in our hearts.  From terror to doubt, from panic to illness…Christ comes and strengthens our faith so we can respond to his saving gift of grace.

Mass Readings – Tuesday of the 18th Week of the Year

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


13th Sunday of the Year: Life, Death and the Gift of Faith

Study:  Consider people you know who are suffering right now.  What is the nature of their struggle?

Pray:  Keep a list of those who are sick nearby when you pray.  Remember them often.

Serve:  How can your faith help someone today who suffers?  How can you be an instrument of healing and comfort?

Mass Readings – 13th Sunday of the Year

Consider for a moment someone you love who is seriously sick.  Perhaps it’s a disease, an upcoming surgery, and undiagnosed circumstance, or the relentless experience of pain...we all know loved ones who suffer – and we would do anything to help.

Now imagine that you have heard about a miracle worker who cures the sick and resuscitates the dead.  I know that if I discovered that Jesus of Nazareth was even remotely in the area I would rent a bus and bundle in everyone I could fit just for the chance that he would lay hands on them.

This is the situation we encounter in the Gospel today.  People are crushing in on Christ; they have heard of his power and they are are desperate for healing.  The double miracles in the reading point out a number of key concepts:

  • Our longing for healing
  • The desperation of those who suffer
  • The depth and breadth of emotions around illness
  • How we all have experience with sickness and death
  • God’s profound gift of healing & life

Simply put, an encounter with Jesus Christ is a healing encounter.  In the face of sickness and disease, the Lord draws near – bringing grace and power – to restore life to those who suffer.

As his disciples, we are part of this healing mission.

  1. Who is suffering in our lives right now?
  2. How can we help through prayer or service?
  3. How do we promote comprehensive healing – in Body, Mind, Heart, and Soul?

Jesus comes to bring life; may our lives – guided in faith – be directed toward healing the wounds we witness.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

Note: This blog post was originally published on June 23, 2015.


Daily Mass: What needs to be healed? Catholic Inspiration

Jesus heals a lame man at the Pool of Bethesda, providing us with an opportunity today to reflect on how the Lord calls us to be agents of healing for those in our midst.

Mass Readings – Tuesday of the 4th Week of Lent

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


13th Sunday of the Year – Healing for Ourselves and One Another – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s 13th Sunday of the Year Homily Podcast

Jesus defines much of his ministry with clear examples of healing others, and the Gospel today gives us an insight about how we draw near the Lord.  We have all had experiences where we long for healing.  We have seen loved ones suffer, and many of us know first hand the presence of pain in our lives.  May the example of Jairus and the unnamed woman inspire us to seek the healing grace of Christ!


13th Sunday of the Year – Life & Death

God heals

Study:  Consider people you know who are suffering right now.  What is the nature of their struggle?

Pray:  Keep a list of those who are sick nearby when you pray.  Remember them often.

Serve:  How can you help someone today who suffers?  How can you be an instrument of healing and comfort?

13th Sunday of the Year Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

Consider for a moment someone you love who is seriously sick.  Perhaps it’s a disease, an upcoming surgery, and undiagnosed circumstance, or the relentless experience of pain...we all know loved ones who suffer – and we would do anything to help.

Now imagine that you have heard about a miracle worker who cures the sick and resuscitates the dead.  I know that if I discovered that Jesus of Nazareth was even remotely in the area I would rent a bus and bundle in everyone I could fit just for the chance that he would lay hands on them.

This is the situation we encounter in the Gospel today.  People are crushing in on Christ; they have heard of his power and they are are desperate for healing.  The double miracles in the reading point out a number of key concepts:

  • Our longing for healing
  • The desperation of those who suffer
  • The depth and breadth of emotions around illness
  • How we all have experience with sickness and death
  • God’s profound gift of healing & life

Simply put, an encounter with Jesus Christ is a healing encounter.  In the face of sickness and disease, the Lord draws near – bringing grace and power – to restore life to those who suffer.

As his disciples, we are part of this healing mission.

  1. Who is suffering in our lives right now?
  2. How can we help through prayer or service?
  3. How do we promote comprehensive healing – in Body, Mind, Heart, and Soul?

Jesus comes to bring life; may our lives – guided in faith – be directed toward healing the wounds we witness.


5th Sunday of the Year – Suffering: Part I

Jesus healing

Study:  Reflect on moments of sickness and healing.  Where did you see God’s hand at work in your life?

Pray:  Is there something in your heart that is keeping you from being healed?  Ask the Lord for the grace to remove the obstacles that prevent the saving touch of Jesus.

Serve:  Who in your life is struggling with suffering right now?  How can you help support them in their need?

5th Sunday of the Year Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

Maybe you’re different, but I find it ridiculously easy to take my health for granted.  I can find myself in patterns of thought where I just assume that my body will work exactly the way it is suppose to, without hindrance, mishap, or breakdown – and you know what happens when you assume…

Let’s face it: suffering stinks.

It took parish priesthood to teach me how precious is the gift of life, and that includes the gift of health.  I make routine visits to the hospitals, say Mass at the nursing homes, and anoint people frequently at church for the surgeries, procedures, tests, and treatments that are part of our battle for healing.  All of us know – either personally or through loved ones – the challenges of suffering.

Some might ask, “Why does God allow this to happen?  Wouldn’t a loving God keep everyone healthy and happy?”  Admittedly when we see people who, through no fault of their own, endure horrible pain and illness we rightfully want to know why; at least, it is one of my Top Ten questions to ask the Almighty.  And while we do not get our answers in this life, we can acknowledge that suffering is part of human experience; it is something that – in greater and lesser ways – we will all encounter in our journey through life.

We see an authentic expression of suffering in the words of Job and the crowd who came to Jesus.  Job’s words echo the cry of many who lose hope in the face of ongoing physical, mental, and spiritual anguish; the press of the crowds around Jesus underscores our deep desire to find healing and relief.

And in the midst of the reality of human suffering, we encounter Jesus at the heart of our experience.  The Lord does not avoid human misery; rather, he reaches out to touch and bless it.  It is this encounter with Jesus – healing body and soul, preaching Good News to the poor in spirit, and casting out evil wherever it is present – that renews lives and fosters hope.

God seeks our healing:

  • In sound bodies (Body)
  • In clear thinking (Mind)
  • In right relationships (Heart)
  • In spiritual harmony (Soul)

So, what needs to be healed in our lives today?  What in our lives – Body, Mind, Heart, and Soul – needs to be touched and blessed by Christ?  God knows our need, may we come to the Lord and seek the one who longs for us to be made whole.