In today’s Gospel lesson we see not one, but two times that God healed someone. The first example was when two blind men came to Jesus crying out to Him, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us!” (Matthew 9.27) As Jesus healed them He said, “According to your faith let it be to you,” (Matthew 9.28) and they were healed. The second example was when these same men, now that they could see and believed in the power of Jesus to heal, brought a man with a demon to Jesus. Again Jesus healed, but this time He didn’t both asking about their faith, since they had already demonstrated their faith to Him.
In today’s lesson, everyone who was sick was healed. But what happens when God doesn’t heal? Does that mean our faith was not strong enough? Does that mean it is our fault when God doesn’t heal? The reaction to the healings in the Gospel lesson today were mixed. Some were in awe of Jesus, while others like the Pharisees were angry and accused Jesus of working with the devil. Could this one verse be an answer to why sometimes God doesn’t heal? Maybe our faith isn’t strong enough? If God says our healing depends upon our faith, then we must consider that is a real possibility.
There are two passages that might help us in our struggle to understand why God doesn’t “always” heal someone. The first is found in the Letter from Saint James, who says, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4.1-3) We must accept the possibility that if God chooses not to heal, then it might be because we are asking out of selfishness rather than love. The second passage we heard today from Saint Paul. “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” (Romans 15.1)
Truth be told, my brothers and sisters. Our healing ALWAYS depends upon our faith, and God ALWAYS heals those who need to be healed. The difference isn’t in whether or not God does the healing, but in how He chooses to heal, and our faith must be strong enough to trust that God knows better than we do how that healing must take place.
When we pray for others out of selfish desires, we may or may not be pleased with the result. The Pharisees were selfish and not pleased with God. The two blind men, on the other hand, were thankful to God and went so far as to bring others to Him to also be healed. Considering the story in its entirety, and considering God always knows what we will choose, it may even be that God chose to heal the two blind men BECAUSE they were going to bring others to Him. Rather than siding with those who get angry at God, I pray we follow the example of the blind men, and continue to bring anyone and everyone who needs to be healed by God to the Church so they can have their own encounter with Him.