YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: RESTORING BEAUTY AND LIFE
BY: Fr. Gerald M. Musa
I had a classmate whom we nick-named ‘before- before.’ This was because he often began the stories of his past life with a common Nigerian expression, ‘before-before’ which means ‘in the past.’ He spoke about how wonderful he was before-before; he passionately narrated the stories of his exploits and adventures before- before. In short, he saw his former-self as more wonderful before-before than his present-self. Many of us can testify that we were better before-before than we are now. There are countless stories of people who tumbled from grace to grass. So the question is what are the factors that make us lose our power, beauty and glory?
Originally, God wonderfully and beautifully created us (Psalm 139:14). In addition, God’s original plan is stated in the Book of Wisdom “For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him” (1:13). However, through the years have passed through many experiences that leave us either better or worse than we were: We suffered broken hearts; sickness and pains ravaged us; sin disfigured us, emotional traumas crippled us, and poverty strangled us. So many experiences of life tampered with our originality. Therefore, we cry and crave for restoration and we long to regain our beautiful pristine and original state.
No wonder, restoration is a common theme in our world today. We talk about restoring our relationship with God, restoring our relationship with other people, and restoring our relationship with nature, restoring peace, restoring law and order. Jesus came into the world to restore and reinstate all things to God’s original plan (Acts of the Apostles 3:21). He restored health and life and restores people to their original beauty and glory.
He restored the health of the woman who was “Afflicted with haemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse” (Mark 5:25-26). The woman who had the flow of blood came to Jesus with great expectation. She heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured” (Mark 5:27-28). The compassion of Christ attracted her and her faith motivated her to touch the fringe of his garment. She was not disappointed by her faith as she received instant healing: “Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction” (Mark 5:29). She experienced God’s healing power.
Amazingly, Jesus also brought back a dead girl to life. The Gospel recounts how Jairus came to Jesus and pleaded earnestly, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” Before Jesus arrived the house the daughter of Jairus was already dead. Jesus “Entered the room where the child was. He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,”which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around” (Mark 5:40-42). The restoration of the health of the Woman with the flow of blood and the restoration of the life of the daughter of Jairus demonstrate the mission of Jesus. His mission is to restore and rescue lives from the grasp of Satan who steals, kills and destroys (John 10:10). Jesus restores life, health, strength and happiness because he cares. He heals every crushed spirit, broken heart, frail body and afflicted soul. The Lord assures his people: “I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,” declares the LORD, “because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares” (Jeremiah 30:17).
God is very observant and he notices when that original masterpiece he made in us is less beautiful and wonderful. When we turn to him in humility, he restores the beauty, the power and the glory we had before-before. He restores us through healing our sickness, through delivering us from sin and by mending our broken hearts and battered lives. God assures us, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25).
13th Sunday of the Year B/ Wisdom 1:13-15, 2:23-24; 2 Corinthians 8:7-9, 13-15; Mark 5:21-43