July 14, 2024

Lectionary Readings: Amos 7:12-15; Ps 85:9-14; Mk 6:7-13

Theme: The Lord, the merciful healer is calling us sick and sinners

Today’s reading is distinctive among the four versions of the Gospel because it contains a formula for healing a sick person that was unheard of in the other three versions of the Gospel Mk. v.13: “and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.” Although Lk10:34 mentioned the use of oil to heal the wounded. Having mentioned this, I am inclined to explore further this particularly unique verse. Bearing this in mind, one might also reflect on past readings, such as the one from Friday. Mt. 9:13 “Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

The commentator of the 19th century even went further to comment on this verse citing Jewish sages. He went on to write that “the oil, therefore, was a symbol of that miraculous power, not a medicament whereby they cured diseases” We can acknowledge that healing truly comes from the Lord, not from ourselves. Indeed, it is the Lord who chooses to intervene and reach out to us, freeing us from the affliction of our sickness. And the commentator went further saying “but the Jews say …such an anointing was physical, although it did not always obtain its end. But this anointing of the apostles ever obtains its end: R. Simeon Ben Eliezer saith, R. Mier permitted the mingling of wine and oil, and to anoint the sick on the sabbath.” Thus, it can be stated that using oil to heal the sick is not considered taboo; instead, it is was an accepted practice in both communities.

It is also noteworthy that we are not the initiators of action; it is always the Lord who initiates. This dynamic of action implies two significant points: firstly, that the Lord calls us to be with Him, and secondly, that this is more of an invitation than a command, for otherwise, He might have chosen a different verb instead of ‘to call’. Highlighting the freedom he has bestowed us from time immemorial.

For Reflection and Discussion: In an era of advanced medicine and science, as a Christian, can I still believe and consider in the efficacy of anointing the sick?

Bibliography: 1. The Catholic Study Bible 3rd ed. New American Bible Rev. Ed. (2016) Oxford University Press, 2. Lightfoot, John; A commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica Mathew – I Corinthians, 1856, Oxford University Press. P. 415,

This week’s Parasha Commentary was prepared by
Jefferson Philip Jacob Reyes, France, Bat Kol Alumnus: 2019

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