YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: SEEKING ETERNAL LIFE
BY: Fr. Abbot Philip Lawrence,
My sisters and brothers in the Lord,
Death is not acceptable in so much of modern culture. Yet death comes in so many ways to all of us. The only death to fear is the death of the soul. God created us to live but death has come into the world. Physical death. Everyone seems to want to fight against physical death. For us who follow the Lord Jesus, physical death is the gateway to eternal life, to living with the Lord Jesus forever.
The first reading today is from the Book of Wisdom. Even in this book from the Old Testament we hear: “God formed man to be imperishable.” God wants us to live! Yet death came into our world. The Old Testament knows already that death is not the final answer to our human existence. Death is only final for those who belong to the company of the devil.
The second reading is from the Second Letter to the Corinthians. Saint Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to share what money they have with those who have less. This is another form of dying to oneself: recognizing that we can share what we have, even if we don’t have much. In much of modern culture today, the emphasis is on getting as much for oneself as is possible. This is another expression of the fear of death. We have a fear of not having all that we want. It is important to recognize that very often what we want and what we need are very different. We have to learn to die to ourselves in order to recognize this difference.
We are not invited to look at how others live, but at how we ourselves live. We are invited to see what we have that we could give away to help others who have less. Saint Augustine said already in early centuries of Christianity that we should strive to have less so that others can have more.
The Gospel from Saint Mark today returns us to the theme of physical death, but in two forms. The woman with the hemorrhages would have been cut out of normal society for all of the 12 years that she had suffered from the hemorrhages. Yet she felt somehow that if only she could touch the Lord Jesus, she could be healed and returned to life.
The daughter of the synagogue official really dies and those around her send a message to her father: don’t bother Jesus! Instead, Jesus knows what is happening and goes to the home and brings the young girl back to life, in spite of everyone doubting that it could happen.
Our challenge today is a simple question: Am I alive in Christ? Am I willing to share what I have with those who have less? Can I really believe that Jesus is the whole meaning of life?
Fr. Abbot Philip Lawrence, OSB Christ in the Desert Monastery, Abiquiu, New Mexico