Saturday's Gospel from Mark starts with the words, "At that time, Jesus returned from the region of Tyre, and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of Dekapolis" (Mark 7:31). It is absolutely fascinating that Mark includes such precise geographic detail from the Holy Land. When I was in the Holy Land for the Senior Holy Cross Seminarian trip, our Tour Guide pointed out that a trip or rather a pilgrimage to the Holy Land is like a Fifth Gospel. Such a pilgrimage to the Holy Land compliments reading the Four Gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John because it provides context for the geographic descriptions that the Gospel Writers included. When in one place it says, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho..." (the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37), it means just that, the road from Jerusalem to Jericho goes downhill. At an altitude of 240 meters below sea level, Jericho is the lowest permanently inhabited town on Earth. Amazing! In fact our Tour Guide would often tell us how far below sea level we would be at that time as our Tour Bus traveled through the Holy Land. It is amazing that such precise geographic details are preserved in the Holy Gospels. Clearly the Gospel writers are eyewitnesses to what took place during the Gospel Narrative. The Gospels Writers clearly are people who knew the very real place, which is the Holy Land where Christ lived, very well.
These are not people from elsewhere in the Roman Empire who decided to start a new religion as some might suppose. If we can trust the Gospel writer on seemingly unimportant details like geographic details, should we not also trust them on the miracles that Christ did? All of the Apostles were killed, martyred for their Faith. People who make things up, do not die for their Faith. Crazy people do not care to ensure that minute, seemingly insignificant details like geographic are accurate. If we can trust the Gospel Writers to accurately tell us about Christ and the places where He lived and visited, then we can trust Christ, Whom they tell us about, to work a miracle for us also.
We can expect Christ God to work a miracle for us also, which is to say to heal us and save us too. If God, in His Human Nature as Jesus Christ, can take His spittle and cure a man then He can use the ordinary physical nature of the Sacraments to heal us. Through the physical means of the Sacraments, we receive His Divine Grace which are His Uncreated Energies. The Divine Energies present in the Sacraments, just as they were in His spittle, can transform us and heal us. But it requires our participation. God will not heal us unless we want to be saved, He will not force His Saving Grace on us-- we have to want Salvation, we have to want to be made whole.
May Christ our true God and Savior, who grew up and lived in the very real place of the Holy Land, heal us and sanctify us so that we are made whole!