Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ,
Blessed is the one who takes no offense at Me. (Luke 7:23)
Jesus offers a stunning summary of the miracles of healing He has accomplished in order to answer a question by the disciples of John the Baptist: "Are You the One Who is to come?" Then He concludes with a beatitude ["Blessed is"] that makes us wonder how anyone could take offense at such a miracle worker.
It is clear that the Pharisees took offense, as their belief system and way of life were threatened by Jesus. Yet the beatitude seems to imply something more than this.
The Greek term for "taking offense," when used as a noun, means "stumbling block." St. Paul referred to Jesus' crucifixion as a "stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles" [1 Corinthians 1:23], just as it is for many in our own time.
We know that the blind, deaf and lame healed by Jesus eventually died. It is the miracle of His cross that destroys death and the workings of evil forever, opening the gates of heaven for His faithful ones for all eternity. To accept that miracle, and to participate in it by uniting our sufferings in life to His, is indeed a great blessing.
"The Messiah of the healing miracles has to be completed by the Messiah of the Cross, from whom alone the miracles derive their deepest meaning."
[Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, Fire of Love, vol. I]
Father Ed Bakker,
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province