On this thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time we celebrate the Lord who generously gave us life. God created us to live and, it is his desire and intention that we prosper in health of body and mind. So, “death” is totally opposed to God the author of life. This was why Christ accepted death and poverty that we ourselves might live and be rich. In today’s Gospel, Jesus emphasizes the aspect of faith and gives us an insight into the way we must perceive death, wealth and health. He gives us a conviction that God is able to act in difficult situations for nothing is impossible to God. Then, how do I look at these three aspects of human life? Death, wealth and health.
Today’s Readings speak of the gift of life, both physical and spiritual, that God has given us. They urge and challenge us to be grateful for our health in body and soul and to use God’s gifts of life and health responsibly. Hence, just as physical sickness and death is nothing but a physical corruption of the body, eternal life in Christ is the ultimate healing and restoration of the spiritual life that resides in our souls. This is simply achieved through faith in Christ.
The first Reading, taken from the Book of Wisdom, tells us that God gave us life and health, and that it was the jealousy of Satan which produced illness and death. The Reading also suggests that the goal of our lives on earth is to know, to love, and to serve God here with perfect health in body and soul, and to share God’s immortal life forever.
In the second Reading, St. Paul asks the Corinthian Christian community to show to their impoverished, suffering Jewish brothers and sisters in Jerusalem the same generous kindness and compassion Jesus showed in healing all who came to him believing. Paul asked the Corinthians to be generous in their contributions to a fund being collected for these suffering, starving brothers and sisters. We see that the generosity of Jesus is central in today’s Readings as well: Paul describes Jesus’ life, death and Resurrection as “the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Today’s Gospel presents us with two miracles of Jesus. These miracles are evidence of the wish and plan of God for us his people. They also demonstrate that while Christ desires that we be freed from all forms of captivities, he equally wishes that we demonstrate a strong faith in order to step into our miracles. In both cases, we see faith in action. The woman demonstrated her living faith with her active action. She waited for twelve years, and when her chance came, she took it in faith. She was not afraid or ashamed of the crowd. Her action and the reaction of Jesus, simply teach us that coming and touching Christ must be a very deliberate action motivated by a living faith. Also, Jairus demonstrated his faith on behalf of his daughter by persistently inviting Christ. Jesus went to Jairus’ house and consoled the father saying, “Do not be afraid; only have Faith.” The phrase, “Do not be afraid,” appears in the Bible 366 times. Both Jairus and the woman never gave up; instead, they waited patiently until the plan of God was fulfilled for them.
These healings teach us that Jesus wills life, full life, for all God’s children. The two healings also reveal Jesus as a generous, kind, compassionate God who wills that men and women should live their wholesome lives fully, and they offer us further proof of the Divine power and Infinite mercy of our Savior Jesus. These miracles were worked by Jesus as rewards for the trusting Faith of a synagogue ruler and of a woman with a hemorrhage. In all cases, Jesus brought new life into dark situations.
The stories have several common features. One woman is 12 years old, and the other has suffered for 12 years. Both are called “daughter,” and both are in need of physical healing. The girl’s father is encouraged to have Faith, and the older woman is praised for her Faith. The two stories illustrate Jesus’ power over both chronic illness and death. In each healing, Jesus shows God’s marvelous generosity by giving the recipients life and salvation in addition to physical healing.
The Church advises us that we need to accept God’s call to health, wholeness and holiness for Jesus accepts us as we are. Hence, let us bring our bodily illnesses and spiritual wounds to Jesus for healing. We should pray for healing which will give us spiritual and physical health in every aspect of our lives, so that we may function in perfect harmony with the Will of God, with the people around us, and with the environment.
As Christians, we believe that Jesus continues to heal us through human instruments in the medical profession, like doctors, nurses, and medical technicians. Hence, when we go to a doctor, we need to offer a prayer to Christ, the Divine Healer, that we may choose the right doctor, who will make the correct diagnosis, prescribe the correct treatment, and give us the correct medicine. Let us not forget the truth that, over, above and beyond the ability and skill of the greatest human healer, Christ still works wonders of healing. Let us also thank God for the great gift of health and use it for helping those who are sick.
We need to continue the healing mission of the Church for as members of the Church, we are not excused from our vocation to be healers. When a friend of ours is terminally ill, the skill of the doctors and their advanced medical tools often become powerless. What the patient needs in such a situation is our care, concern, and prayerful presence, enabling them to experience through us the love, compassion and mercy of Jesus. We do our share of Christ’s healing mission by visiting the sick, by praying for their healing, and by boosting their morale through our loving presence, encouragement, support, and inspiration.
We need to have trusting Faith in the mercy and Divine power of Jesus for the main prerequisite of the effectiveness of our prayer is our Faith, Faith in the goodness and mercy of God. Such a Faith is possible only if we remain related to God through prayer, the Sacraments, and a meditative study of the Bible. Every day we should say a fervent prayer of thanksgiving to God for the gift of active Faith. Let us keep in mind this wise piece of advice given by St. Ignatius of Loyola: “We must work as if everything depends on us, but we must pray as if everything depends on God.”