The word “Maranatha” is a coinage from two Aramaic words: the noun mära’ (Lord, Master) and the imperative mood of the verb ’ätah (to come). Thus “maranatha” simply means “Come Lord (Jesus)”! It is an express desire of the heart and a lucid invitation of the Advent season, in readiness to welcome the Lord Jesus.
In a society that is looking sick and desolate, wearied and worried, troubled and confused, the only Good News that can be received is the expectation of a Messiah to bring remedies and healing. Maranatha is the cry of one beset with suffering; the aspiration in the troubled face of a man who has lost all his happiness and joy due to protracted illness defying cures; the desire of the woman whose laughter has been muffled by sorrow and distress arising from broken heart as she grapples with life in a childless marriage, miscarriages or repeated loss of children in infancy; the inviting look of the child who is sick and hopelessly malnourished. These are the gory sights in our streets, homes and churches.
During His short earthly life and ministry, the Lord Jesus “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10,38). His miracles declaring divine presence and visitation to His people were of two kinds: nature and healing miracles. He brought relief to the sick, curing them of their infirmities and diseases. The prophet Isaiah had earlier foretold what Christ would later declare as His missionary manifesto: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Lk 4,18-19; cf. Is 61,1-2).
The Lord God is extending a free invitation to all to come and be satisfied and healed without any cost: “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Is 55,1). Our Lord Jesus continues the same invitation to all who are weary and over-burdened: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11,28). Christ invited us first to come to Him for our healing and nourishment; and we now invite Him in return to come to our assistance in this troubled world.
Christ’s response and continued presence among His people is the Maranatha Caring Mission stepping in as a prolongation of Christ’s presence in furtherance of His caring mission. In this mission, Christ’s presence and closeness is felt by the society, especially the sick, the poor and the less-privileged who can now be treated, clothed and fed at no cost.
You too, can join to make this mission possible bearing in mind Christ’s assurance: “Whatsoever you do, to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me” (cf. Matt 25,40). Maranatha! – Come, Lord Jesus!