Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 27
Do We Have the Faith That Our Lord Is Asking of Us? Do We Have That Faith and Trust in Jesus Which Jairus and the Afflicted Woman Had in Today’s Gospel?
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.” – words which our Lord tells us in today’s Gospel. And, a famous quote attributed to Saint Padre Pio is, “Pray, hope and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.”
Death and suffering are a part of life, and we become introduced to it from the moment we are born, and I am sure that many of you who are reading this meditation have suffered emotionally from the loss of a loved one, be it a parent or grandparent, spouse or child. And yet, this was not part of God’s initial plan for His creation.
As we read in the Book of Genesis, and as our First Reading today from the Book of Wisdom reminds us, due to the weakness of our human nature, and due to the “envy of the devil”, death and suffering entered into the world.
And yet, for those of us who have opened our hearts and have truly embraced the truths of our faith, death and suffering have no permanent hold over us – for Christianity teaches us that the gifts of life and healing await each of us who keep our eyes focused on the One who is most important in our life – Jesus Christ!
As each of us reflects upon our individual life experiences, I am sure we can remember many happy moments in our lives, as well as some sad. Life, with all of its ups and downs, with all of its wonderful peaks and also with all of its tremendously deep valleys, becomes a learning experience – a process whereby life begins to teach us that we should take nothing for granted, and we begin to realize that “tomorrow morning” is never guaranteed to anyone.
With age and experience also comes the beginning of wisdom. We begin to learn that life is a most precious gift from a God who loves us beyond all human comprehension. And we also know, only too well, that, where there is life, there is also suffering.
The reason for suffering is a topic about which books have been written. And suffering is a human condition about which our Lord and our Blessed Mother, and many of the saints and all the martyrs know intimately. But it was through their suffering that they also taught us the true meaning of hope.
In 2009, when our Holy Father was visiting the hospital founded by Saint Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo in Italy, Pope Emeritus Benedict stated, “Suffering is part of the very mystery of the human person.”
And he went on to say, “There exists…an intimate bond between the Cross of Jesus – symbol of supreme pain and price of our true freedom – and our own suffering, which is transformed and made sublime when lived with an awareness of God’s closeness and solidarity.”
In other words, when we accept and bear our sufferings with faith and join them together with the sufferings of Christ, so that His sufferings and ours become as one, our crosses become as holy incense ascending to the very Throne of God Himself!
Saint Paul tells us today in our Second Reading, “For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.”
The prophesied Messiah, our Savior, left the awesomeness of His Divine Throne – He left the eternal comfort of His Father’s side – so that He could take upon Himself our human nature, with all of its weaknesses except sin, so as to give Himself completely, to the point of His own agonizing Death upon the Cross, so that He may teach us, His children from every age and period in time, about the profound wonders of His Divine Love and Mercy, and that you and I may become rich – by being reconciled to His Father for all eternity.
In other words, what was once death and suffering in the world has now been forever and inalterably changed to life and healing!
And Jesus demonstrated the Merciful Love of God so many times while He walked amongst us some two thousand years ago. And we read in today’s Gospel two of those wonderful stories of healing – healings which speak of faith on the part of those suffering, healings which speak of God’s tender love and compassion for His children.
And some two thousand years later, God is still reaching out and touching the hearts and souls, minds and bodies of His children, for our God truly IS a God of Love!
Jesus said to the sorrowful Jairus in the Gospel, and He says to you and me today, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
The question then begs to be asked – do we have the faith that our Lord is asking of us? Do we have that faith and trust in Jesus which Jairus and the afflicted woman had in today’s Gospel?
Today, we live in a world which is beset by a spiritual darkness in the hearts of so many of God’s children. We live in a society which has become brutally seduced by moral and theological relativism, in which many remake God in their own image.
We live in a culture where the social morés have become so severely compromised by thoughts and ideals of selfishness and greed – that the very concept of sin itself is a term which has become not only archaic but also an idea which has no place in modern philosophy or thought.
And our Lord, Himself, once said, “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Much of today’s world is badly in need of a “wake-up call” – a reminder that there is a God who is infinitely Just, but is also filled with Mercy for those with a truly humbled and contrite heart; and that this God offers to each one of His faithful children – no matter what their color, race, creed or religious persuasion may be – the gift of eternal life!
The peoples of this world, all of whom are our brothers and sisters in Christ, need to be reminded that there is a God who freely loves each one of us, and who wishes to heal us of our infirmities, whether they be spiritual, physical or emotional.
Sin has visited suffering upon mankind for thousands of years. Holiness is the healing balm which will wipe away our every tear. Personal sanctity is the ointment which will turn this vale of tears into God’s Kingdom on Earth.
Each of us, by virtue of our Baptism, is a member of the royal priesthood of Jesus Christ. Each of us, by virtue of our Baptism, is called to become Christ-like in our relationship with others. It is in the example we live, it is in the love we show toward others that you and I CAN begin to make a real difference – even if that difference in only one person at a time, one soul at a time.
May each of us become living examples to others of our psalmist’s hymn of praise today, “O LORD, be my helper. You changed my mourning into dancing; O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.”
And in our thanksgiving, may our every suffering be turned into healing; may our every death be turned into life!
In our prayer of thanksgiving and praise, may each of us, with an opened and receptive heart, remember our Lord’s words of encouragement which He has given to each of us this day, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “…God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. For he fashioned all things that they might have being, and the creatures of the world are wholesome.” (Wisdom 1:13-14b)
- “For God formed us to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made us. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who are allied with him experience it.” (Wisdom 2:23-24)
- “The LORD God gave the man this order: ‘You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; when you eat from it you shall die.’” (Genesis 2:16-17)
- “…through one person sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned.” (Romans 5:12)
- “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8b)
- “To you, LORD, I cried out; with the Lord I pleaded for mercy: ‘What gain is there from my lifeblood, from my going down to the grave? Does dust give you thanks or declare your faithfulness? Hear, O LORD, have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper.’” (Psalm 30:9-11)
- “For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life.” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)
- “For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
- “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)
- “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ.” (Ephesians 2:4-5a)
- “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
- “Jesus said…‘Do not be afraid; just have faith.’” (Mark 5:36b)
Prayer for the Day
“O Lord, we ask for a boundless confidenceSaint Padre Pio
and trust in Your Divine Mercy,
and the courage to accept the crosses and sufferings
which bring immense goodness
to our souls and that of Your Church.
“Help us to love You with a pure and contrite heart,
and to humble ourselves beneath Your Cross,
as we climb the mountain of holiness,
carrying our cross that leads to Heavenly glory.
“May we receive You with great faith
and love in Holy Communion,
and allow You to act in us,
as You desire, for Your greater glory.
“O Jesus, Most Adorable Heart
and Eternal Fountain of Divine Love,
may our prayer find favor before
the Divine Majesty of Your Heavenly Father. Amen.”