Homily for June 27, 2021
Understanding God’s love for us can sometimes be difficult—especially during times of illness and death. When faced with such difficulties, we are inclined to ask questions like: If God is so good, why do our loved ones have to suffer and die? If God is so powerful, why does pain and suffering even exist?
To help answer these questions, we can refer to our First Reading today (Wis 1:13-15; 2:23-24) that reminds us:
- God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.
- It is by the envy of the devil that death entered the world.
Although we live in a sinful, broken world, God wants the best for us and allows us the freedom to make choices in our life. Those choices help determine our destination after our mortal life ends. We can choose to be children of light (not darkness). We can choose good (not evil). We can choose truth (not lies). These daily choices lead us to our eternal goal.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that God – the author of all creation – made us “to know Him, to love Him, and to serve him in this world, and to be happy with him forever in heaven.” If we choose light and good and truth in this life, we remain focused on heaven and eternal life with God—that’s our long goal.
Our faithfulness is, in many ways, based on our relationship with God. Although we desire a strong, growing, and sustained relationship with God, our Gospel reading today (Mk 5:21-43 or 5:21-24, 35b-43) reminds us that even one encounter with God can bless us with his saving grace.
THE WOMAN AFFLICTED BY HEMORRHAGES
Let’s look at the story of the woman afflicted with hemorrhages. This poor woman had hit rock bottom. She spent all her money and time seeking a cure. All she had left was faith in a man she merely “heard about.” She believed that if she just touched his clothes, she would be cured. So she did and she was: She touched Jesus’ cloak and was healed.
What we learn from this miracle is that humility was an essential part of the woman’s healing. According to Mosaic law—because of her bleeding—the woman was “unclean.” She was risking her very life by fighting her way through the crowd, touching all those people, and making them unclean too. Where did she get the strength to overcome those obstacles? It came from her humility.
The woman acted like someone beginning a 12-Step program (like Alcoholics Anonymous). She admitted that she was powerless over her problem (Step 1). And she came to believe that a Power greater than herself could heal her (Step 2). Her humility opened her heart to faith in Jesus Christ. And that faith unleashed God’s saving power in her life.
From this story, we learn that:
- Jesus can always help us—no matter how broken or desperate we are. No matter how distant we believe we are from God, He is just one step away waiting for us turn back to Him
- There is power in faith (believing in someone greater than ourselves) that can save us from evil and help guide us to heaven.
THE NATURE OF JESUS
The other valuable lesson from this Gospel is that we learn more about the nature of Jesus. We are reminded that:
- Jesus is compassionate – he doesn’t punish the woman for touch him. Instead, he blesses her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.”
- Jesus is aware of our needs – think about it: out of this large crowd of people that were pressing upon Jesus, it was the woman who needed curing that he felt touch him. He sensed her need for saving (just as he is aware of our needs as well).
- Jesus wants us to be at peace – in the story, when the woman is “found out” we are told that she approaches Jesus in fear and trembling; she falls to the ground and confesses. But Jesus doesn’t condemn her. Instead, he forgives her and tells her “Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” (Sounds a bit like the Sacrament of Reconciliation, doesn’t it?)
There are so many themes we can reflect on in today’s readings – faith, humility, relationship, good, evil, compassion, love, etc. But today, I invite you to focus on just one thing. As you approach the altar today to receive Christ in the Eucharist, ask yourself:
What is the one thing I need from Jesus to help make me a more loving and compassionate person?
What obstacle can Jesus remove for me that will help me better know, love, and serve as a person who wants to be happy with God forever in heaven?
Ask for God’s grace and remember Jesus’ healing words: Do not be afraid; just have faith. Then, experience the loving nature of Jesus.