Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A man lives by believing something, not by debating and arguing about many things.

God does not expect us to submit our faith to him without reason, but the very limits of our reason make faith a necessity. – St. Augustine

Gospel text (Mk 5,21-43): Jesus crossed to the other side of the lake and while He was still on the shore, a large crowd gathered around him. Jairus, an official of the synagogue, came up and seeing Jesus, threw himself at his feet and asked him earnestly, «My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her so that she may get well and live».

Jesus went with him and many people followed, pressing from every side. Among the crowd was a woman who had suffered from bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a lot at the hands of many doctors and had spent everything she had, but instead of getting better, she was worse. Since she had heard about Jesus, this woman came up behind him and touched his cloak thinking, «If I just touch his clothing, I shall get well». Her flow of blood dried up at once, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her complaint. But Jesus was conscious that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, «Who touched my clothes?». His disciples answered, «You see how the people are crowding around you. Why do you ask who touched you?». But he kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, aware of what had happened, came forward trembling and afraid. She knelt before him and told him the whole truth. Then Jesus said to her, «Daughter, your faith has saved you; go in peace and be free of this illness».

While Jesus was still speaking, some people arrived from the official's house to inform him, «Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Master any further?». But Jesus ignored what they said and told the official, «Do not fear, just believe». And He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James and John, the brother of James.

When they arrived at the house, Jesus saw a great commotion with people weeping and wailing loudly. Jesus entered and said to them, «Why all this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep». They laughed at him. But Jesus sent them outside and went with the child's father and mother and his companions into the room where the child lay. Taking her by the hand, he said to her, «Talitha kumi!» which means: “Little girl, get up!”. The girl got up at once and began to walk around. (She was twelve years old.) The parents were astonished, greatly astonished. Jesus strictly ordered them not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat.

Today, the Gospel presents us with two of Jesus' miracles that speak of the great faith of two entirely different persons. Whether Jairus —an official of the synagogue— or that poor ailing woman, both displayed great faith as they were gripped with tragedy in their life. Jairus is certain Jesus can cure his daughter, while that good old woman knows that just touching Jesus' robe will be more than enough to deliver her from her very serious bleeding. And, Jesus, because both are persons with a strong faith, grants them what they wanted.

How about us, do we have faith in God when tragedy strikes and the “chips are really down”?

One night a house caught fire and a young boy was forced to flee to the roof. The father stood on the ground below with outstretched arms, calling to his son, "Jump! I'll catch you." He knew the boy had to jump to save his life. All the boy could see was flames, smoke, and blackness. As can be imagined, he was afraid to leave the roof. His father kept yelling: "Jump! I will catch you." But the boy protested, "Daddy, I can't see you." The father replied, "But I can see you and that's all that matters."

I believe our faith is a lot like this little story about this father and son. It’s easy to believe in God when all is going well but when our “necks are on the line” - we hesitate, we become frightened, we turn our focus from God.

Faith is a gift and we must always ask God to strengthen it. Just ask St Peter, who denied Jesus three times when his life was threatened. He saw miracles and lived with Jesus for 3 years; yet, his faith was not as strong as he thought it was. No one is immune from turning away from God. The words of St Mark should always be on our lips, “Lord I believe but help my unbelief”.

God gives us many opportunities in life for our faith to be strengthened and many times the very things we perceive as hardships are the very things that can be used as “tools” to increase the faith we have been given.

Our Catholic faith, through frequent reception of the Sacraments and daily prayer will enable us to face anything life can throw at us, not because we can see, it will give us the certainty that we are seen. A strong faith will not give us all the answers, but we will absolutely know that we are never alone.

1 comment:

  1. Your article really made me think. Its so easy to get lost in our afflictions and forget this ultimate source of comfort that you talk about.. faith.

    When everything else falls away, its faith that can help us stay strong and keep on the path we really intend to be on. Our religions might be different, but I agree thats something that should be common to us all.

    I hope its alright if I share this as well, but its a really touching story a close friend of mine wrote about how her faith carried her through the attack on Boston in 2013.