A Reflection by Fr. Kingsley for the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B).
Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24 – 2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15 – Mark 5:21-43.
Dear brothers and sisters, whenever I think about the many problems of our time and about the things people are passing through, and then I take a look at the Readings, what comes to mind is this: ‘It isn’t over yet’. And then, ‘It isn’t over until God says so’. What God wills for us is always for our good. He wills that we live as in paradise even while we are on earth, He wills that we be happy, and that we enjoy health and well-being.
The 1st reading tells us how death came about. God did not make death; rather, He created humanity to be in His presence and to live in His presence. Righteousness is immortal. Death is the result of the devil’s envy of God and his hatred of us. The word of God makes the connection between life as the work of God through our righteousness, and death as the work of the evil one through the activity of sin. God has no pleasure in the death of any sinner; rather, [He wants] that he should turn from his way and live (Ezek 18:23). The notions of life and death expressed here are with regard to spiritual matters, but extend to the physical matters to some degree because it is while we are alive that it is incumbent upon us to live out the righteous life that ultimately gains for us eternal life in God.
In John 10:10, Jesus declared that He came into the world so that we may have life, and have it abundantly. Today’s Gospel gives two examples of the power of Christ to restore life and wholeness. He raised from death and healed the daughter of Jairus (a respected synagogue official), and power went out of Him to heal the haemorrhagic woman. It was to Jesus that Jairus turned when his daughter was seriously ill. It was Jesus whom Jairus asked to come to his house and lay His healing hands on his daughter. It was in Jesus’ ability to cure her that Jairus put his trust. Jesus lovingly responded without hesitation, because He is Love (1Jn 4:7-10) and – note well – because Jairus asked Him to do so! On the way to Jairus’ house, news came that the girl had died and so there was no logical reason to put the Master to any further trouble (v.35). Observe that this news came after Jesus had healed the woman with the haemorrhage because she had demonstrated her faith in Him (v.34). So, Jesus reassured Jairus with calm authority to have faith (v.36). He took Peter, James and John with Him to the house where Jairus’ daughter lay dead, and restored her to full health (vv. 41-2).
The Sacred Heart of Jesus can never resist a hand outstretched in need or an appeal for help made in faith. Healing was at the epicentre of Jesus’ public ministry. His healing activity extended to body, mind, soul and spirit. Whenever He healed, He healed the whole person. That’s as true today as it was back then. Our Lord went around Galilee, curing the illnesses and infirmities of people who were suffering by filling them with the life-giving presence of God. Every one of the healing acts of Jesus emphasises the message that He has come to set men free (Mk 5:1-20; cf. Is 61:1). In our own times, He sends that same message to us: that He effects miraculous healings to set us free. He heals our souls, delivering them from the power of sin and eternal death, and He does the same for our bodies. For these healings to be efficacious, we have to believe and trust in Him.
Sometimes, we may imagine (mistakenly) that we have been calling and calling on God, imploring Him to heal us and our broken world, but He has not responded. Sometimes we may imagine (mistakenly) that He is delaying getting to our home, or that He is purposely allowing things to get out of hand before He gets round to helping us. Sometimes we may perceive people behind us in the queue for Him being blessed before we are (like the healing of the haemorrhagic woman before the resurrection and healing of the girl), ostensibly delaying out own blessing by Him. One thing that the Gospel puts very clearly – which we noted last Sunday – is that God cares about us. During His time on earth, Jesus demonstrated time and time again His care for those who were ill, for their carers, and for those who put their trust in Him and prayed to Him for help. He responded to each one of them according to their faith in Him, and He responds to us according to our faith in Him. He is God. Everything He does for our good gives even greater glory to God the Father. So, no matter how dire the situation in which you find yourself may be, I urge you to comfort yourself by assuring yourself that, ‘it is not over, because Jesus is with me’ and ‘it is never too late with God’.
The 2nd Reading reminds us of the richness that comes down to us through Christ’s ministry, the richness in which St Paul was urging the Church in Corinth to rejoice and excel Herself. The mission of the Church in every age is to continue to do Her utmost to progress the healing work which Jesus accomplished through the miracles He worked. How are we to progress this? We are to progress this by reaching out to people far and wide with this richness and power of healing that Christ bestows on the Church. We are to progress this by exercising compassion and forgiveness. We are to progress this by caring for others, making the love of God real in their lives (1Jn 4:11), harnessing the power of God for them through prayer, and by making faith and trust in God real for them. We are to share this spiritual wealth with others, especially those who are physically and/or spiritually ill.
May I conclude by reminding us that ‘it is not over’ when we are ill and weakened. ‘It is not over’ whenever we are waiting for Jesus to act and it seems to be taking Him a long time to get to us. ‘It is not over’ when we see the hand of God healing other people, but perceive ourselves to have been side-lined onto a waiting list. ‘It is not over’ whenever we feel overcome by sin and the prospect of death, because those are not what God wills for us. He desires our healing, our forgiveness and our restoration. Reassure all hearts that are suffering or broken that Jesus really IS on His way to encounter them, help them and heal them. Amen. God bless you.