The day I started to think about this post was the day Donald Trump held one of his rallies in New Jersey. The news reported that people were lining up at the venue as much as 48 hours before the event, camping out trying to be the first into the arena. Think about it. Someone so popular with some folks that they go to great lengths to show their fandom.
In the summer, the Today show on NBC holds Friday concerts. People crowd Rockefeller center to be a part of the event, lining up days ahead of time. Thousands and thousands. It is mind-boggling to see the streets wall-to-wall with people, screaming in support of “their star.”
In Gennesaret, the people saw Jesus coming onshore and crowded around him. “They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplace and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on this cloak;”
Do you see any difference in these three scenarios?
In the Trump rally, one gets the satisfaction of supporting a favorite politician; in Rockefeller Center, people get emotionally frenzied at the thought of seeing a star and get caught up in the music; in Gennesaret, Jesus goes quietly around the countryside, gathering with the sick and healing them, and, as the Gospel tells us, “as many as touched it (the tassel)” were healed.
My question to you is: who is your real superstar? I hope you will answer that it is Jesus. In Jesus’ day, he was very much like a famous politician or music star. His fame spread far and wide throughout the region, as folks looked for him and immediately responded, knowing that what they heard about his power to physically heal them, was true! Who else is going to do that for you? Who else, but Jesus who will also heal your soul and calm your spirit.
Do you ever participate in the Sacrament of Anointing for the healing of the sick when offered at your parish? I recall once, many years ago, I was experiencing a very emotionally trying time. While attending the daily Mass, Father decided to offer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. I went forward with everyone else, praying that my burden be lifted. When I returned to my seat, my head bowed in prayer, and I felt the physical sensation of warmth starting at my feet and moving up my body to my chest. I swear this is true. At that moment, though my trouble was still there, I somehow knew that everything would be okay. I only had to believe and trust. And, eventually, it was okay. My trust in Jesus’ healing power saw me through. It will do the same for you! And as for physical healing, miracles have happened and will continue to happen. But it is also a miracle of healing to be given the strength to endure and acceptance of what is to be. That peace of mind is priceless.
Now, you may still rally around your favorite politician, music star, actor, or other famous people as you like. You should, and you should enjoy doing that. But you must remember that is only Jesus who will genuinely give you something of worth. In the end, rallies and concerts will leave you with only a ticket stub or a program book. But Jesus, alive to us in the Eucharist and Sacraments, will leave you with everlasting healing and peace. The eternal promise of the Greatest of the Superstars.
Jeanne Penoyar, an Accounts Manager at Diocesan, is a Lector at St. Anthony of Padua parish in Grand Rapids, MI. Jeanne has worked in parish ministry as an RCIA director, in Liturgy, and as a Cantor. Working word puzzles and reading fill her spare time. Jeanne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.