13 Sunday - B Homily 3


XIII SUNDAY B July 1

 Introduction: 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. 


Today’s gospel describes two of our Lord's miracles, the healing of a woman from her chronic bleeding disease and the revival of the dead daughter of Jairus to life.   These healings teach us that Jesus willed life, and willed full life for all God’s children.  The two healings also reveal Jesus as a
generous, kind and compassionate God Who wills that men should live their wholesome
lives fully. They also give us further proof of the divine power and the infinite mercy of our
Savior. These miracles were worked by Jesus as reward for the trusting faith of a synagogue
ruler and of a woman with a hemorrhage, although the faith of the ruler may have been
defective and the woman’s faith may have been a bit superstitious. But Jesus amply
rewarded their defective faith by granting them health and life.  

 Life messages: # 1: We need to accept God’s call to health, wholeness and holiness.
Jesus accepts us as we are.  Hence, let us bring before him our bodily illnesses and spiritual
wounds and ask for his healing touch.  As Christians, we believe that Jesus continues to heal
us through his 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, and that s/he will make the correct diagnosis,
prescribe the correct treatment and give us the right medicine. Let us not forget the truth,
that 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. #2: We need to continue the healing mission of
the Church: As members of the Church, we are not excused from our vocation to be
healers.  We do our share of Christ’s healing mission by visiting the sick, by praying for their
healing, and by boosting their morale with our loving presence, words of encouragement
and inspiration. Thus, we may enable them to experience the compassion of Jesus.

 Anecdote # 1:  “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” Ann Jillian, a three time Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actress and singer, is an American actress born to Roman Catholic Lithuanian immigrant parents. Since 1985, she has added motivational speaking to her impressive list of credits, addressing business, medical, professional and women's groups with her own unique blend of humor and inspiration. Her prowess extends from the world’s concert halls, to feature film and the Broadway stage.  She has starred in over 25 TV movies, and made hundreds of other TV appearances. Her TV movie, The Ann Jillian Story, which recounts her victory over breast cancer, was the #1 film of that TV season, but, more important, it delivered Ann's message about the hopeful side of breast cancer to its millions of viewers.  In 1985, the then 35-year-old actress made headlines when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. On her way to the hospital to check the nature of the growth which she had noticed, she stopped at St. Francis de Sales Church and read the inscription on the door. “The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.” She went into the church and prayed for the strength to accept her ordeal.  The radiant trust in God and peace of mind she maintained before and after the surgery (double mastectomy), was big news in the media and a great inspiration for all cancer patients. She trusted in Jesus’ words given in today’s gospel, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” Actually this phrase is repeated in the Bible 365 times in the Bible.

# 2: Widow of Dr. Martin Luther King:  The whole world was saddened when Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. died in a medical clinic in Mexico. What was she  doing in Mexico? It's simple. Doctors in theUnited States had told her they could do no more for her. The clinic in Mexico offered hope. That hope may have been an illusion, but who can blame her? We'll do anything for hope. Ask someone who has been in chronic pain and has discovered that even the finest medical professionals don't have a clue about how to stop their pain. Many of these sufferers will go to any lengths to find someone who can give them relief. Wouldn't you? This woman comes to Jesus. She has heard that this is the physician she has been looking for.

 #3: "This is where I found Christ." Here is a beautiful old story about Zacchaeus, the tax
collector. It tells how in later years, he rose early every morning and left his house. His wife,
curious, followed him one morning. At the town well he filled a bucket... and he walked until
he came to a sycamore tree. There, setting down the bucket, he began to clean away the stones, the branches, and the rubbish from around the base of the tree. Having done that, he poured water on the roots and stood there in silence, gently caressing the trunk with both of his hands. When his amazed wife came out of hiding and asked what he was doing, Zacchaeus replied simply, "This is where I found Christ." I can just imagine that for the rest of their lives, that woman who touched the tassel of Jesus' robe that day on the street...and the daughter of Jairus who was raised up in that room in her home, continually brought people back to those sacred spots and said, "This is where I found Christ! This is where Christ loved me into life!" Do you have a sacred spot like that? This is the Good News of our Christian faith, isn't it? Love has the power to heal, to reconcile, and to redeem.

 Exegesis: The context: In today's gospel we have what is often called a "Markan sandwich".
One story is encased or sandwiched between the beginning and end of another. Here, we
have an unusual combination of two miracle stories, one contained within the other – a
healing, and a restoration of life.  The story of the woman with the flow of blood interrupts
and is sandwiched in between the two parts of the account of Jairus and his daughter.  These miracles were worked by Jesus as rewards for the trusting faith of a synagogue ruler and of a woman with a haemorrhage.  Though the ruler may have trusted Jesus out of desperation and the woman’s faith may have been a bit superstitious, even their perhaps defective faith was amply rewarded.

The parallels: 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 his marvelous generosity by giving the recipients life
and salvation in addition to physical healing.

The faith-experiences of Jairus and the sick woman:
1)    Jairus: As the ruler of the synagogue, Jairus was a well-respected man in the local Jewish community.  He was the administrative head of the synagogue, the president of the board of elders and the one responsible for the conduct of the services.  He probably shared in the Pharisees’ prejudice that Jesus was a heretic and a wandering preacher to be avoided.  If so, the urgency of his need and the helplessness of the situation prompted him to forget his position, to swallow his pride and prejudice and to seek help from Jesus the wandering wonder worker.
2)    The woman with a hemorrhage: The account tells of a woman who came to Jesus with expectant faith, as a last resort, after trying every other cure known in her day.  The Mosaic Law in Lev 15: 25-27 declared her unclean and shut her off from the worship of God and the fellowship of her friends.  That may be why she decided to try to touch the tassels of Jesus' garment secretly. 
3)    Jesus, like every other Jew, wore an outer robe with four tassels on it, one at each corner--the badge of a devout Jew as prescribed in Num.15:38-40.  
4)    The faith that was rewarded: The woman’s boldness in touching Jesus' garment -- which, according to the law, made Jesus unclean -- could have angered him. Further, because her “chronic bleeding disease” rendered her ritually unclean, any contact she had with others in the crowd, made them also ritually unclean as well.  But her faith in the healing power of Jesus was so strong that she risked breaking all the social rules to seek what she believed He could do for her.  By affectionately calling her "daughter," Jesus established a relationship with her and gave her the assurance that she was healed:   “Daughter, your faith has saved you.  Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”  In addition, she gained a personal relationship to Jesus as a member of his family (3:35).  By trusting in the power of God and doing His will, she was not only physically cured but also fully restored to a normal religious and social life.  It was her deep faith in Jesus - symbolized by her touching the tassel of his garment - that was a major factor in her healing. The faith that brought back life from death: As Jesus sent the woman to her house, Jairus received the shocking news of the death of his daughter.  But Jesus insisted on going 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.  Those who greeted Jairus at his home were professional mourners who wailed, beat their breasts, tore their hair, and rent their garments.  There were also flute players who played funeral dirges.  The crowd told Jairus: "Your daughter is dead.  Why trouble the teacher any further?" (35). But Jesus assured the crowd: "The child is not dead but sleeping," meaning that the girl's death was only temporary, and she would wake up at his call.  Jesus took the parents of the little girl with only Peter, James and John into the room, took the child by the hand and said to her, “'Talitha koum,' which means, 'Little girl, get up!’”  Those who had laughed Jesus to scorn must have been greatly amazed when they realized Jesus' power.

Life messages: # 1: We need to accept God’s call to health, wholeness and holiness.
Jesus accepts us as we are.  Hence, let us bring before him our bodily illnesses and spiritual
wounds and ask for his healing touch.  We should pray for healing which will give us health
in every aspect of our lives – not just in our bodies – so that we may function in perfect
harmony with people around us and with the environment. As Christians, we believe that
Jesus continues to heal us through his 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, and that s/he may
make the correct diagnosis, prescribe the correct treatment and give us the right
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.

Life messages: #2: We need to continue the healing mission of the Church: 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 and inspiration. 

 Life messages: #3: We need to have trusting faith in the mercy and divine power of Jesus:  The primary condition for the effectiveness of our prayer is our 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.”
Jokes Of The Week

1: Healed by laughing:  "A cheerful heart is good medicine" (Proverbs 17:22).  In the 1300's, surgeon Henri de Mondeville reportedly told jokes to his patients in the recovery room. Laughter exercises the face, shoulders, diaphragm, and abdomen.  When the breathing
deepens, the heart rate rises, and the blood takes up and transports more oxygen.
Endorphins are released, pain thresholds are raised, and some studies suggest that even
our immune systems are boosted.  When we laugh, others laugh too.  Laughter is a
contagious, highly effective, non-prescription medicine.  It has no side effects, and no
one is allergic to it.  Have we had our dose of laughter today?  We can use the tool of
humor to induce laughter for our health, healing and general sense of well-being.  We can
even spend time in daily practicing our laughing out loud – maybe by smiling first, then
leaning into a giggle, and then in outright belly laughs! 

# 2: A deaf man, a blind man and a disabled man heard a rumor that God had come
down to a church in the village to heal the sick.  They all went to find out if it was true.  God
signed to the deaf man, "Can I help you, son?"  The man signed back that he would be so
happy if he could hear again.  God touched the man and suddenly he could hear.  God
then touched the blind man and he was able to see.  The third man was sitting in his
wheelchair with his mouth wide open in amazement.  God looked at the man and asked
him what he wanted. The man drew back and yelled, "Don't lay one finger on me! I'm on
disability!"

 # 3: A pastor joke:  One Sunday at Mass as the priest was giving his homily, a little baby in
the front row suddenly started crying loudly.  The mother did her best to pacify the child but
nothing worked.  So finally she got up and started to walk down the aisle to take the baby
into the cry room.  The priest stopped his preaching, and very compassionately called out
to the mother, "That's OK!  You don't have to leave.  The child isn't disturbing me."  The
young woman turned around and said, "No, pardon me Father, but you're disturbing
my child!"