Now as Peter went here and there among all the believers, he came down also to the saints living in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, for he was paralyzed. Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!’ And immediately he got up. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. Acts 9.32-35
Word of Hope
In this short post-Pentecost selection we see Peter facilitating a miracle. I say facilitating rather than performing because Peter is clearly the conduit for Jesus; who he calls on for healing. There is at least one parallel passage where Jesus heals a person who is unable to walk and tells that person to take up his mat and walk. The power of Jesus is still in the world.
I cannot help but wonder if this passage is more parable than history. There are two reasons for my conjecture. First Lydda is a town that, along with others in the area, had refused to pay tribute to Rome at one point. The inhabitants had been sold into slavery. They were oppressed to say the least. They were held down, unable to stand on their own. The message that following Jesus could make you stand up again, make you able to walk again, is a strong political message.
But I think there is also a message for Rome here. The man who is healed is named Aeneas. Aeneas is not a Jewish name; it is an ancient name from Greek myths. The most famous holder of that name was a survivor of the Trojan War who was believed to have been the father of Romulus and Remus. They are the mythical founders of Rome. Aeneas, taken as a metaphor for Rome, makes the message here clear. Oppressors, oppressed, Jews, pagans, the defeated, the enslaved can be healed. None of those attributes matter.
What then is the message for us today? Jesus heals. Jesus “gives us legs” to walk. People around will see the changes in the healing and will turn to the Lord. Our past, our present, our circumstances can be healed. And in being healed we become walking messages of God.
Healing God, heal us. Heal those who oppress us. Let those who see Your healing turn to You and live in Your ways.
Order of Saint Francis and Saint Clare