Crown prince Yaṣib came to his father,
he lifted up his voice and cried:
Listen, I besiege you, O noble Keret,
listen, and let your ear be alert!
You have not defended the widow,
you have not protected the powerless!
You have not stopped the plundering of the poor.
You have not fed the orphans under your rule,
you have not protected widows around your throne!
And for all those reasons
your bedfellow is illness,
your concubine is disease. (KTU 1.16.vi.46-51)
This is a short and slightly adjusted quotation from an epos recorded on a clay tablet about three thousand years ago. All that long ago people already knew that there was a connection between arrogant, abusive and corrupt power and suffering and illness. (Aren’t we reminded of it by our recent national events?!)
But please, understand me well, I do not believe for a moment in a vindictive God. This was composed centuries before the first sentence of the Hebrew Bible was ever written! Yet people already knew what constitutes a healthy society! It was and still is taking care of the widows and orphans, the poor and powerless. There is simply no denying that there always has been this connection between selfish, incompetent rulers neglecting the most vulnerable and the suffering of their subjects and their societies. In fact it is also a heartbreaking logic because the vulnerable always suffer twice - first they suffer being neglected and then they suffer the secondary consequences of that neglect - unhealthy and collapsing society.
Thankfully there is a way out of it if only we decide to take it. This logic of lack of compassion and illness can also be reversed and compassion does lead to broader healing.
Have you noticed how many examples of just that healing we have in the Gospels? They give many accounts of Jesus’ miraculous healings. But this Sunday we will listen to a very special healing story from the gospel. To my best knowledge, among all the miraculous healings, this is the only healing which is part of a parable thus being a direct invitation for all of us to step in and follow the suit.