Why does God choose to heal some but not others?

| Deacon Michael Barsness | June 6, 2013 | 0 Comments

Why does God heal some but not others? This is a perturbing question that many might ask when considering the readings for this weekend. Many do not receive the miracles they are looking for; yet, some do.

I recently heard of a man who went to Lourdes with a debilitating illness. When asked about his desire to be healed, he said he had mixed feelings about whether he wanted to be cured of his illness. It was such an important part of his conversion and had brought him into an intimate relationship to Jesus. If being healed would hinder his relationship with Jesus, then he didn’t want to be healed.

It was this man the Lord chose to heal at Lourdes of all the many hundreds of people who went on the pilgrimage there. Why was this person healed and not all others who wanted to be healed? This is a great question and must be addressed through a correct understanding of the Gospel.

Recognizing God’s presence

In the readings for this week, we find two stories in which the miracle of life is restored.

Through the prayers of Elijah, the boy of the widow is raised. The widow recognizes the Lord’s work in the prophet and testifies to his being a true prophet. “Now indeed I know that you are a man of God. The word of the Lord comes truly from your mouth.”

Of all the people to come, Elijah visited her and the Lord raised her son. In this great miracle the widow was able to recognize the Lord at work.

The Gospel passage is a similar story but with a big difference: Jesus on his own authority raises up the boy. We see that Elijah is a type of Jesus and a foreshadowing of the Messiah who would make all things new. Jesus raises the widow’s son by his own power, showing that we can say truly: “God has visited his people!” The widows in both passages are able to recognize that God is present with them.

No easy answer

So the question remains: Why does Jesus heal some and not others?

God visits everyone in his good time and desires that we all be saved, provided we desire to be saved. We simply have no definitive answer as to why some are healed in this life and others are not.

This question is especially mysterious in our sinful world, where God can at times feel distant. Yet, the reality is this: We are not alone; God visits us! Jesus is present now in our hearts, he knows our needs, he knows our desires and has remedied the path of sin to which we are accustomed.

He has outfitted the Church with his healing presence in his sacraments. Yet, we must recognize his presence. To do this we must let go of sin. The man at Lourdes and the widows were open and attuned to God’s presence. Let Jesus heal the wounds of sin that have accumulated and prevented you from experiencing his love.

Deacon Barsness is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. His home parish is Annunciation in Hazelwood, and his teaching parish is Holy Family in St. Louis Park.


Sunday, June 9

10th Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • 1 Kings 17:17-24
  • Galatians 1:11-19
  • Luke 7:11-17


How have you felt God’s presence during an illness, whether yours or someone else’s?

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Category: Sunday Scriptures