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Wholeness and Healing
Wholeness and Healing

Jesus Is a Wholemaker

Monday, October 2, 2023

Franciscan author Ilia Delio understands Jesus as a “wholemaker” who gathers and heals disconnected and wounded parts of individuals and communities:

The Gospels open with the word metanoia, “repent,” indicating a summons to a complete change of life for both the individual and society. This change is not a single event but a permanent newness of life. Christianity … is more dynamic than the classical hierarchic pyramid with God at the top, humans in the middle, and plant and animal life below. The new Christian order is not about fixity of place in the hierarchy but inclusiveness within the whole concept of order itself, a holarchy [a system of “holons,” or parts that also make up a whole, such as a seed]. Jesus’ intimate experience of God and his self-identity with the Father (“The Father and I are one,” [John 10:30]) empower him to act in the name of love by healing and reconciling all that is unloved in human persons. He gathers what is scattered, healing the sick, eating with sinners, speaking with women, dining with tax collectors and Gentiles, dealing with each person as one called into greater wholeness. The story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman (John 4:4–26) shows the new religious consciousness that erupts in this man from Galilee….

In his encounter with the woman at the well, Jesus broke three Jewish customs: first, he spoke to a woman; second, she was a Samaritan woman, a group the Jews traditionally despised; and third, he asked her to get him a drink of water, which would have made him ceremonially unclean from using her cup or jar. This shocked the woman at the well. But Jesus lived in unrestrained love, inwardly free from laws and customs that hindered wholeness and community.

Jesus prioritizes what Delio calls a “love that makes whole” and heals through an ever-greater unity between God, people, and creation:

Jesus was a “wholemaker,” bringing together those who were divided, separated, or left out of the whole. He initiated a new way of “catholicity,” a gathering together of persons in love. At the end of his life he prayed: “That they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me” (John 17:21). He gathered together what was divided and confronted systems that diminished, marginalized, or excluded human persons. He challenged others not by argument or attack but out of a deep center of love. Jesus said, “Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39). Faith in Christ should move us to be loving and free, to create new wholes, and in doing so, to create a new future for the human person, for society, and for the whole earthly community.


Ilia Delio, The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution and the Power of Love (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2013), 128–129, 130, 131.

Image credit: A path from one week to the next—Alma Thomas, The Eclipse (detail), 1970, acrylic on canvas, Smithsonian. Alma Thomas, Snow Reflections on Pond (detail), 1973, acrylic on canvas, Smithsonian. Alma Thomas, Snoopy—Early Sun Display on Earth (detail), 1970, acrylic on canvas, Smithsonian. Click here to enlarge image.

Many pieces form a collective, which makes a whole. We heal together.

Story from Our Community:  

Thank you for your meditation on “The Spirituality of Letting Go” on April 23, 2023. It really speaks to the stage of life I have been experiencing. I have great compassion for my old way of being, and I now celebrate my wholeness as a human and divine being. I feel sad when I see so much suffering in our world. I pray that more human beings will experience the joy of coming home to themselves. —Brigit M.

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