Frj82’s Blog

June 29, 2009

13th Sunday Ordinary Time – Year B

As I occasionally do, I am posting the sermon I preached this past Sunday June 28th.  Not that it was groundbreaking or it made people swoon and faint with great faith, but I enjoyed preparing it immensely as it was one of the Gospels that always stuck out as I heard it growing up.

“Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” These words are taken from the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark.  My B&S, when we left Jesus last, he was awoken from a deep sleep in the middle of a torrential rainstorm. His followers thought they were going to die, and he scoffed at them for even thinking God would allow this to happen with Jesus on board, that their faith was absolutely lacking. Jesus calmed the storm, and they were on their way.

Unfortunately for anyone with fame, you aren’t getting very far without a crowd of people knowing at all time. I believe we saw this with the coverage of Michael Jackson passing away- I think I knew exactly where he was for the past 96 or so hours. Not a moment after Jesus arrived on shore, he was besieged by the crowd and a number of requests and, as scripture says, he stayed close to the sea. Like I mentioned last week, this was early on in Jesus’ ministry and while he was establishing his name in the area, he still was subject to cold feet every once in a while, just like anyone else would be. And like anyone else, Jesus, a human like you or me, felt things – sorrow, shame, fear, joy.

In the OT reading from the book of Wisdom, we read about how God made everything in his creation inherently good – “For he fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome.” The Book also says how God formed man to be imperishable, but by the devil, death entered into the equation. As we step back from the scriptures, we can recall all the times in church or whenever where we have heard that death is not the end, but the beginning, that it is entering paradise, that it is a relief of pain, etc, etc. We are told that the devil is what made the finality of death possible, that is, not making it into eternal paradise but suffering damnation and separation from God.

 That fear of death might be the most powerful human emotion besides love, and it causes many to do things beyond their normal limits. The woman who was hemorrhaging for 12 years was one of these examples. Thousands of days of suffering, embarrassment and shunning from the public surely put her in a depressed state. Her affliction was surely considered a punishment by God.  Yet her fear of death, her faith in God told her that if she could just graze Jesus’ cloak, all would be ok. This woman, certainly not used to mingling with larger crowds anymore, did just that, braving scathing eyes and contemptuous looks in order to get better. Jesus stopped, called her out, again instilling her with a new kind of fear, only to commend her on her strong faith.

This all took place only after Jesus was notified by Jairus, the synagogue official, that his daughter was dying. If we search our memory banks, we can recall a story where Jesus healed a servant just by speaking to his master, on the basis of his master’s faith. Jesus didn’t even have to venture to his house. So why does Jesus now decide to travel to Jairus’ house in order to at least see his daughter? Recalling again our gospel today, the daughter dies, but Jesus insists on still seeing her. Jesus walks in, clears the room, tells everyone that she isn’t dead but sleeping, gets laughed at (and worse), cures her, and the parents are gifted with their child back, safe and sound. A surreal close to this gospel, the dead being brought back to life. What we get though, is the power the God truly has over death.

At Vacation Bible School a couple weeks ago, Bp. Anthony explained to the kids that at the Last Supper, Jesus changed the words of the ancient Passover meal because, well, he was God and could do those sorts of things. Today was an instance of those “sorts of things.” Like the book of wisdom said today “God formed man to be imperishable…but by the envy of the devil, death entered the world.” Jesus showed those present that he, God on earth, had THAT very power over death, over the devil, over the world. He had the power, the right, the ability to change things forever that no one before or since could do. That is why Jesus ventued into this house, to show the people.  And again, as Jesus was prone to do, he told everyone not to say a word about this, knowing full well that those crowds that have been following him would only grow even larger.

My brothers and sisters, this is where we hang our hats as Christians. Jesus, fulfilling the scriptures, saving those in need the most from the devil due to strong faith. We show God our strong faith every time we enter the doors to this church and every time we open our hearts up to him in prayer. Let the lessons of scripture today serve as a reminder to the power of faith in the lives of Jesus’ chosen ones, and let us revel in the fact the he chose us to be his followers. Amen.

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