Between Dusk and Dawn – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Luke 4:38-44, Wednesday of 22nd Week in Ordinary Time

Today’s gospel happens during sunset. It is then that that sick and the possessed all hobble towards Jesus. At dusk, the Lord lays his hand on them, cures them, rids them of demons. Kung kelan padilim na, doon sila nagpunta kay Hesus. Siguro kasi mas malamig sa dapithapon; and I guess, it’s also safer away from the critical eyes of religious authorities—just when the world is in between light and darkness.

The counselors and therapists here will surely tell us that in order to begin to heal, we need to first admit that we’re ill. And I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that the sickest people we’ve met are those who think that everybody else is sick except themselves. It can be quite difficult to heal people resisting the need for a cure, & worse, when they turn the truth around and play the victim.

To go from “They have a problem, they need help,” to “I am the problem, please help,” now that’s like standing between darkness & light, like at dusk, like sunset. But to affirm our darkness is really the beginning of a new day, isn’t it? And even then, healing will not be instantaneous. Dusk, after all, does not lead straightaway to morning…but to many hours of dark night. So, in our desire to go from illness to cure, from dusk to dawn, we hobble along, and sometimes in incredible pain and blindness. The good news is, if the Lord has anything to do with us and our need for healing, darkness will not have the last word. In fact, it never has and it never will.

You know the joke, right, as to why Peter denied Jesus three times? Because the Lord healed Peter’s mother-in-law! How interesting for her to get up “immediately” and start serving the household as soon as Jesus heals her fever. Mothers will be mothers. But she teaches us a crucial thing about being healed—that the intentionality of being cured, the direction towards which personal healing flows…is mission, service. As far as today’s Gospel is concerned, we affirm that we all need constant healing from our disorders, both for our own sake, and also so we can readily help others heal from theirs. There is a very poignant reason for our hobbling between darkness and light—that when we finally see the light of day, we nevertheless don’t mind going back into the darkness if our brothers and sisters still happen to be back there, and they’re feeling as terrified as we once were. We want to be ready to go back into the night and tell them that this time between sunset and tomorrow, this time is really a time of deep grace.

For the Jews, the new day starts at dusk. Isn’t that true with us as well, dear sisters and brothers? When we finally see the light and enjoy the fruits of God’s healing, we know very well that healing had begun, long before sunrise. Like the Jews believe, it is really at dusk that our new day begins.

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