CYCLE II: HOMILY FOR MONDAY OF THE 14TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: IF I ONLY TOUCH HIS GARMENT!
BY: Fr. Ben Agbo
HOMILY: *Hos 2 :14 – 20, Matt 9 :18 – 26.
The 2 incidents in today’s gospel tell more about the nature of the sacraments than a whole book. Sacramental faith is higher than doctrinal faith. It is easier to belief in the Triniity, for example than to believe that Jesus is really present in the bread and wine after consecration.
There are 2 situations relayed to us in today’s gospel where sacramental faith is superimposed over other kinds of faith . The 1st is the healing of the woman who was 12 years down with haemorrhage. But she just said to herself inspite of her past experiences : ‘If I only touch his garments, I shall be made well’. Jesus told her : ‘Take heart, my daughter ; your faith has made you well’.
In the second case, somebody was dead, and Jesus came into the situation as the owner of life to declare her not permanently dead but temporarily dead (sleeping). All the professional mourners did was laugh at him. He sent the crowd away and touched the girl. And life came back.
Two things that strike me in the two passages are ; the simplicity of the sacraments and the theology of touch.
- THE SIMPLICITY OF THE SACRAMENTS : In musicology we call those composers ‘minimalists’ who believe in using the simplest of style to produce the best of music. One popular example is Yanni, the Jazz master and another is our own Jude Nnam. When Elijah told Naaman the leper to go and wash 7 times at the Jordan river, he thought he was crazy but that is the simplicity of the sacraments. The prophets of baal believed in long noisy prayers as many modern churches still do today but Elijah spoke to God and got his miracle in one minute. So, the woman had the same simple faith that only a touch on Christ’s garment would change her life’s story.
THE THEOLOGY OF TOUCH : In virtually all the sacraments of the Church, from Baptism to Holy Orders, grace is confered through touch. In the Holy Eucharist, Jesus not only touches us but enters our system. In the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, healing is imparted through the touch with the anointing oil. In the sacrament of reconciliation, spiritual life is restored through the words of the priest. We only need to believe these. But our world of today is full of maximalism in spiritual matters. You begin to sprinkle holy water and you see people following you about wanting to be drenched by the water before they are contented. You sprinkle ashes, some struggle to come to receive it 10 times a day before they are contented. Let us learn that only a touch from Jesus is all we need for our healing. And in the current CoViD 19 sacramental dispensation, the Church has allowed us to even touch his body at communion. What a wonderful opportunity for those who understand!
May God bless you today!