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Association of the Miraculous Medal
Gospel Reflection for February 4

Besides her great privilege of being the Mother of God, Mary was also her Son’s first disciple. She is often called the Model, or Exemplar of the Church. Following her example, we walk with her through the Gospels as we reflect on her response to God in her life.

February 4, 2018 — Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 1:29-39
 Father Oscar Lukefahr, C.M.

Jesus, healed the sick, as today’s Gospel shows. But he didn’t cure everybody, and those he healed eventually died of sickness, injury, or old age. So what do his healing miracles really mean?

First, they show that God is on the side of healing, and we should pray for healing. Dr. Larry Dossey in his book, Healing Words, describes scientific research showing the power of prayer in the healing process. Dr. Dossey, a former agnostic, says we are best healed by medical care and sincere prayer.

Second, Jesus suffered greatly, and suffering can unite us to him. St. Paul, in Galatians 2:19-20 writes: “I have been crucified with Christ. Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.”

Third, suffering is redemptive and can be a prayer for others. In God’s plan, we can join our suffering to the suffering of Jesus and bring his grace to others. Paul states in Colossians 1:24: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my body I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ for the sake of his body, which is the Church.”

Bishop John Leibrecht, Bishop-emeritus of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, tells of meeting a young man in a wheelchair. He was not Catholic, and Bishop Leibrecht explained our belief that we can join our sufferings to those of Jesus. God then turns our pain into grace for those for whom we offer it. “Are you telling me that human pain and limitations can help others?” the young man asked. “Yes,” the bishop replied. The young man didn’t say a word, but a smile came over his face. Bishop Leibrecht says: “I’ll never forget that peaceful smile as he began to push himself toward the door.”

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal teaches us to pray to God for healing. Her suffering united her to Jesus, and her heart, pierced by a sword, is close to the thorn-crowned heart of Christ. She offered her pain at the cross for our salvation. And she shows that suffering can lead to eternal joy in heaven.

Read last week's reflection.