The gospels offer many stories which demonstrate the compassion of Jesus. They provide a picture of Jesus drawing close with loving concern to people who were forsaken or held in contempt: the sick, lepers, tax collectors, prostitutes.

Those stories are of two kinds.  There are those of physical healings, miracle stories and there are those of spiritual healing, of forgiveness, consolation stories.

Jesus, in his compassion often gave the gift of physical healing but he wanted to give much more. His primary purpose was to give the gift of spiritual healing, of salvation to all who were open to receive it.

Jesus knew the hardest thing for people to bear was not in the fact of their physical disabilities.  The hardest thing to bear was their feeling of helplessness, of loneliness, of hopelessness.  He knew their greatest need was for someone to truly love them and be their savior.

A beautiful story of spiritual healing is found in chapter 7 of Luke’s gospel.  Luke tells the story of a woman who was a sinner.  She had a bad reputation.  She certainly was not welcome when she crashed that Pharisee’s party and washed the feet of Jesus.
After contrasting her behavior with that of the Pharisee, Jesus spoke words of great consolation: “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she has loved much.”
Whoever loves much will be forgiven much.  At the judgment we all will be asked if we have loved.  That will be the touchstone question.  If we have not failed on this, we will be asked further if we have believed and obeyed, accepted and trusted, prayed and followed as best we could the light that was given us.  The fundamental question will be about love.  Have we truly loved God and our neighbor?

When we speak of love in this context it is good to remind ourselves we are not talking about sentiment or feelings.  We truly love God if we sincerely and consistently try to the best of our ability to unite our will to his, to do what he asks of us.  And we truly love our neighbor if we sincerely and consistently want our neighbor’s well-being and do what we can to assure it.

We believe that same Jesus is still among us, that he has the same power to heal and to console.  The most important part of that faith is in Jesus offering us the gift of healing in spirit, the gift of salvation.