Wis 1:13-15; 2:23-24
2 Cor 8:7, 9, 13-15
Mk 5:21-43 or 5:21-24, 35b-43
Life and death that is what is facing us today. Life and death and the choice we make, and the choice God has made. In today’s Gospel Jesus encounters two women who are dead. You may argue that the one was not really a woman, but a child. Perhaps, but in her time she would have been close to marriage age, so she is a woman. The other you may somewhat justifiably argue isn’t dead at all. She may be ill, but she is alive. Yet her illness, her disease, makes her an outcast, untouchable, unfit to live in society. So, she is for all intents and purposes dead her society. In the appearance of Jesus she is faced with a choice, life or death. She summons up her courage and reaches for Jesus hem, reaches for life. She reaches for life because she has faith, faith that Jesus, that God, will give her a new life. Her hope is not dashed; she does get the new life she reached for, because of her faith. A man comes to Jesus, asking him to save his seriously ill daughter. As he is leading Jesus to his home people arrive to tell him it is too late, she has died. Jesus turns to the man and says do not be afraid, have faith. They continue to the place where the younger of our women lay, apparently dead. Yet Jesus turns the mourners away, saying she merely sleeps. They laugh at him, they know death when they see it. Yet for Jesus no situation is hopeless. Faith again triumphs over death. Jesus takes her hand, commands her to rise, and she does. Faith, faith stronger than fear, stronger than death, brings life. God chooses life for us, not death. In our first reading we hear, “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 “For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him.” God wants life for us, yet we so often choose not to grasp that life that is ours to take. We turn away, either out of fear, or not believing that our faith is enough. We are simply too evil for God to forgive us, to give us a second chance, for God to give us life again. We are so, so wrong. God does not give second chances, God give third and fourth and fifth chances. God give us all the chances we need to accept the gift of life being offered us. Nothing, nothing we can do separates us from the love of God. Fear is what separates us, fear that we simply don’t have enough faith. Any faith is enough faith, God is not measuring quantity. Faith and trust and hope in a new life, they are not things to fear. Jesus told the synagogue official, do not be afraid. The woman who was ill overcame her fear. Each was given a precious gift, life, new life in Christ. Do not be afraid, reach out, touch the hem, seize the life that God wants you to have.
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 28, 2009