Many last night watched the Grammys host an outstanding duet performance of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” by she and Luke Combs. Tracy wrote it to tell the story of a young working woman’s yearning for “a ticket to anywhere” to get away from her life of poverty and hardship and “see what it means to be living.”
The hit was originally released in the late 80’s when my husband and I were at our prime – living in California, both working long, hard hours at our dream jobs to help make our materialistic dreams come true. We thought we knew what we were looking for – our own "fast ticket to anywhere” - and at last we discovered “what it means to be living,” or so we thought. We were so deeply in love, yet didn’t realize that just being together in good health was the gold; time we were not savoring, but instead searching for a car fast enough so we could fly away – the one thing that once it is found, none of us can hold onto.
Fortunately, before it was too late, we found our gold. In 2004, due to our own hardships of poor health, we returned, hand in hand, to our Catholic faith and learned you can experience real Heaven now in getting to know, love and serve Jesus. Within a matter of a few short months, I had been diagnosed with both ovarian cancer and then a brain tumor, and my husband was involved in a serious motorcycle accident – the “Trifecta” as my husband called it. Together we survived several surgeries between us and in our journey back to Him, our Lord blessed us with nearly 15 more years of good health. With our faith and return to the Church, we received profound healings in our bodies, but more importantly, in our souls.
In today’s Gospel, St. Mark tells us of crowds of people who’d been searching for their own “fast ticket.” They’d heard of the miraculous healing power of Jesus and were waiting to get near Him. To their fortune, Jesus and His disciples had just tied up their boat near them in Gennesaret and had barely set out to land when crowds from the surrounding country began to scurry toward Him, bringing their sick on mats for Jesus to heal. And He tirelessly healed them all. They were already holding onto the faith it took my husband and I so long to find, and they begged Jesus just to let them touch the tassel on his cloak. St. Mark tells us that as many that touched it were healed.
Jesus’ healings are a resplendent sign for us that “God has visited His people” and that His Kingdom is close at hand. Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins. He has come to heal the whole man, body and soul. (Catechism, Para. 1503)
Sadly, a year and a half ago I lost my beloved husband to cancer. In our last days together, we acknowledged that the physical healings we had received from the Lord so long ago were meant to lead us to the healing of our souls. All the sins we had repented of had been forgiven. Through our tears, we agreed we were most grateful that God had both brought us together and healed us together through our Catholic faith.
Jesus’ great love for the sick is still with us today. We’ve already got our own "fast cars." Are they "fast enough so we can fly away?" You bet they are. And we don’t have to go as far as “across the border and into the city.” Jesus is right here with us. But we’ve got to "make a decision...leave tonight or live and die this way.” Let’s go to Him now and find out what it really means to be living, because “starting at zero we’ve got nothing to lose.”
"You got a fast car,
Is it fast enough, so you can fly away?
You gotta make a decision,
You leave tonight or live and die this way."
Produced by David Kershenbaum
Written by Tracy Chapman
Label: Elektra Records
Copyright: Rhino Entertainment Company, Elektra Records