Jb 7:1-4, 6-7
1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23
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Jesus loved the poor, the weak, the sick, and the demon-possessed. These individuals, and those who cared for them, knew that they could come to Jesus to find what they needed. What they needed, however, was often much more than what they thought they needed, because Jesus indicated by his words in today’s Gospel passage, and by his actions, that it was his purpose to preach the Word of God. The healing, in other words, flowed from something more fundamental. People need to hear the truth of God. By accepting it and being formed in it, they can establish right relationships with God and one another. They can conquer sin. They can have integral salvation, in body and soul.
As Jesus was the one to whom the people brought the ill and those possessed by demons, so the Church today is the place that people should be inclined to go first. The Church preaches integral salvation, as the “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church” so clearly explains. The feeding of the soul and the care given to temporal needs go hand in hand.
The Church, which teaches the truth that all life belongs to God, is reaching out each day to those who are tempted to take life by abortion. The thousands of pregnancy centers run by Christians across the nation bear witness to this fact. These centers provide medical help, financial assistance, legal advice, counseling, job and education opportunities, assistance to keep and raise the child or to make an adoption plan, and countless other needs. Some national hotlines, like the “Option Line” (1-800-712-HELP) and websites like www.pregnancycenters.org bring this concrete help to countless people daily. The members of each parish can extend the ministry of Jesus by referring people to this kind of help. It saves lives, spares people endless grief, and proclaims the Word of God about human life.