There is considerable debate about whether the people whom Jesus healed were really possessed by the devil or were mentally disturbed. The debate is utterly besides the point. These individuals were deeply troubled and Jesus healed them. Jesus came to heal both body and soul.
Most scripture scholars now agree that miracles were an important part of Jesus’ ministry and of the memory of that ministry in the early church. We simply cannot abandon them to please those who say miracles are impossible.
The precise explanation of how these healings were accomplished is another matter and perhaps one that is also besides the point. Jesus did not work miracles to prove anything. Rather they were signs that God’s healing love is at work in the world.
Fr. Greeley's Last Book:
Once upon a time there were some doctors who were discussing whether prayer helped their patients. Does it do any good, they asked, for people to pray for those who are sick. One group said it helps those who pray to feel that they’re doing something for the sick person. But it really doesn’t help the sick person at all. The other group said that they had the impression that prayer really had a positive effect on sick people. The first group said that’s scientifically impossible.
So they decided to try a “double blind” experiment on those who were recover from heart problems. They would have prayers said for some and not for the others to see what happened. The doctors didn’t know who was chosen to be prayed for and the subjects of the prayers didn’t know either.
However a list of first names were given to those who were to do the praying. So neither the prayers or the prayees or the researchers know had been chosen to be the target of prayer. What happened? Those for whom prayers were said recovered more quickly. See said those who had argued that prayer worked, there’s more things under heaven than science dreams of. (This is a true story about research which is reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine, October 25/1999.)
1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
Gospel Mk 1:29-39On leaving the synagogue
Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.
They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.
Then the fever left her and she waited on them.
When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.
Rising very early before dawn, he left
and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues,
preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.
Father Greeley's blog - Read and comment on
new articles directly?
Catholics and the Struggle with Their Church
The survey of the archdiocese, which Father Greeley describes as "a very complicated place" demographically, asks some difficult questions, and finds some interesting truths.
In Memory of Father Andrew M. Greeley
All Rights Reserved © 1995-2015
Questions & Comments: Webmaster