Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Healing the Sick

Rabbis teach that hosts ought to look and feel pleased when they welcome and wait on guests with a generous spirit.  They recommend promising little, while giving much.  In response guests should appreciate whatever trouble the host has gone to on their behalf and be grateful for whatever is offered.  This beneficent exchange is the foundation on which right relationships and peace between nations is built.   

This idea is reflected in Jesus’ instruction to the disciples in Luke 10:5-9, “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat what is set before you; and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God has come near to you.’ ”

Judaism teaches the value of showing hospitality even to one’s enemies, but opening one’s home to a sick or wounded person was never a common practice.  Because they believed that God was the source of health and illness, sickness was considered punishment for sins.  Healing began with a return to God, mediated by priests who invoked God’s help through prayer, sacrifice, repentance, and fasting as well as purification rituals.