Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Anointing the Sick- Sacrament of Healing
They cast out many demons and were anointed with oil many of who were sick and cured them. Mark 6:13
The Association of American Medical Colleges expects a shortage of up to 124,000 doctors in the next 12 years. The amount of doctors being trained has not kept pace with the population growth. In the meantime, the training of paramedical professionals such as physician assistants is being encouraged. Doctors are still medical professionals with deep expertise and training but they work closely with these other health professionals in our healthcare system.
When Jesus sent out the disciples to proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God, he delegated them with power and authority. As the Son of God, he authorized them with the power of God to proclaim the need to repent and to be healed of the chains of bondage to the kingdom of Satan. We read here a curious use of oil for healing. Oils for healing rites in the ancient world are well known. The disciples were given instructions by Jesus and were given oils for this purpose. The oil was not a healing potion. Rather, it is a sign of the promised healing, the healing that occurred, and the hope of healing. The Mystery of Divine Healing is that the root of diseases and our real need is actually spiritual healing. Jesus delegated the disciples to proclaim the Good News and show to those who would listen that true healing begins with the inner spiritual person. The oil is a sign from the Great Physician himself. The disciples became the hands and the feet that would proclaim the good news of the healing of body and spirit.
Among the Sacraments of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church is the Anointing with the Holy Oil. Suffering and death for the Christian are not things to be feared. They are realities of a world marred by sin. But through Christ’s victorious sacrifice, we perceive the new creation in Christ and the reality of the Kingdom of God which can’t be overcome by death. This Sacrament proclaims the new life in Christ and the activity of God’s healing presence symbolized by the Holy Oil. The core of these sacramental rites is always the prayers and petitions to God. The responses of God are beyond our comprehension. Just as Christ sent the disciples to proclaim and heal, we too are called to carry the message of hope, the call to repentance, submission to God’s plan, and pray for the healing of those suffering. Just as physician assistants help provide healthcare alongside doctors, we also have to proclaim the Word and provide healing of body and spirit to those around us.
Gracious God and Divine Healer, we thank you for the hope and healing you have given us through your Son Jesus Christ. Lord, having received this gift, teach us to proclaim your Good News and be healing hands to those suffering in body, mind, and spirit. Amen.
Vicar, St. John’s MTC Michigan