As it was for our Master, we are sent not only to announce the coming of the Kingdom but also to deliver and heal all those welcome the happy announcement with faith. The “Announcement” and the “signs” of salvation are inseparable from the God’s divine pedagogy.
When John’s disciples ask Jesus if He is really the Messiah they are waiting for. He answers them: “Go and tell John the things which you have seen and heard: that the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the leapers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up and the poor have good news preached to them. Blessed is he who is not offended by me!” (Lk 7:22-23). To some incredulous people as well He will say: “Though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father” (Jn 10:38).
While staying with his apostles and disciples He summoned on the Ascension mount, Jesus confirms them their missionary mandate and assures that He will “confirm” their works through the prodigies which will accompany their preaching (see Mk 16:17-20). The Lord has never withdrawn that promise. On the contrary, nowadays we have gone so far as to just catechize people about the Christians’ missionary mandate as a purely theoretic matter, while also looking at that with distrust and opposing a subject that is an integral part of our mandate (and which has always been such. Thus we are not allowed to arbitrarily amputate it). Though agreeing on the fact that today signs are needed just in the same way as they were in the heathen world of two thousand years ago, a lot of people think that it is anyway better to avoid them, in order not to disturb the spiritual sensibility of most “normal” assemblies, those we are used to meet at the Mass on Sundays. But these are renunciative attitudes, not in line with God’s wisdom, such as it revealed to us in the whole Holy Scripture.
Others will object that those are works just for Saints. Though neither about the Apostles it is written that one of them was already a saint. They all were men on the way, just as we are, with their bursts and falls. But while we are discussing about all these things, the most needy people (and certainly the weakest as well, lacking an suitable Christian training or, maybe too desperate to discern) are looking “elsewhere” for what would be legitimately expected from the Lord’s disciples, otherwise finding magicians, charlatans and sorcerers. And they finally sucked into a never-ending spiral of overwhelming and fear, which is a new and worse slavery.
Neither we can recognize the validity of signs and then strand on words, academic studies, debates, never coming to practice.
A famous Pentecostal Charismatic Renewal leader liked to tell on the purpose: “Once I came back home very hungry and I asked my wife to grill me a good steak. So what was her only answer? She took a book and went on reading about the nutritive qualities of a steak for more than half an hour! She was reading and reading and I was starving!” And he would close exhorting those who want to see realized Jesus’s promises to take them out of the fridge of their rationality, to put them on the fire of the Spirit.
The Charismatic Renewal was born for that. In fact we shall “dare” even more if we really want to work to transform, together with Jesus, death into life. “…Earnestly desire the best gifts” Of course we shall watch on mistakes as well, but without letting ourselves be discouraged. On the contrary, we shall go on determinedly, as men and women entrusted by God who reveal that Jesus is alive, in the middle of us and always working, also showing that through exterior and visible signs as healings.
- Alberta Avòli and Roberto Ricci- “They lived together”
Guidelines Collection, No. 5. The Risen Jesus Community Edition – pages 78-79