YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: “DO NOT BE AFRAID BUT HAVE FAITH BECAUSE WE HAVE A GOD WHO CARES AND HEALS”
BY: Fr. Clem C. Aladi.
GOSPEL: MARK 5:21-43
My dearest People of God, I warmly welcome you to the house of God on this 13th Sunday in ordinary Time. The readings of today speak of the gift of life, both physical and spiritual, that God has given us. They urge and challenge us to be grateful for our health in body and soul and to use God’s gifts of life and health responsibly.
The growing sophistication of medical equipments and the expertise of medical personnel, is never a reason for us to give up faith in God who cares and heals His children. The first reading From the book of Wisdom made it clear that God made all things that they may have life and all creatures are created to be wholesome. It is only a person who has never been sick will not know the value of good health. *We receive this gift of life and good health as treasures in earthenware so that we don’t pride ourselves or boost with it* . We often become sick and experience the fragility of life, so that we shall appreciate more this gift we have received. What is the value of life and good health when it does not glorify God and follow man/woman . Many today are sick and lying in the Hospital beds. Do you think that you who are healthy is better than them? . Not at all, you are simple lucky and blessed. They are not unlucky anyway, because in their condition, the healing power of God is made manifest. But we can only tap into this healing power of God through the power of Faith.
The story of the woman in the gospel who had suffered for twelve years of haemorrhages (i.e unstoppable flow of menstrual blood). Reminds me of the agony of many women in the world who battle daily with Vesiscovaginal fistula (VVF). (VVF is an abnormal medical condition that allows the continuous involuntary discharge of urine ). Their daily plight of wearing adult diapers adds more to their pain and also many others suffering from incurable diseases. It is very easy to slip into despair and give up faith in God when one founds himself or herself in a situation where medical expertise seem to offer no solution. The sickness of the woman in the gospel has left her in penury having spent all her life savings to get a cure but her situation kept getting worst. She lost everything and suffered terribly in the hands of many doctors, but had only one thing left which is her undying faith in God who heals. She was convinced that God will heal her and made a decision to move towards Jesus to touch Him. Her touch was not just an experimental touch or a trying of her luck, but a touch borne out of a trusting faith. An absolute faith in God who heals was her last option and she got her healing. Child of God Never underestimate the healing power of God, that is why the Physician does not have the final say about your health condition. St Paul says *”… For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying , yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day.”* ( 1cor 4:16). Accept your cross with faith and hope in God, who alone can turn things around for you.
God gives us life and His desire is for us to live and not to die. Death came into the world as the work of the devil and those who belong to his company experience it. God desires good health for us and heals us when we are sick, and can also raise the dead as we saw in the gospel how the faith of Jarius brought her daughter back to life again. These two miracles of healings teach us that Jesus wills life, full life, for all God’s children. The two healings also reveal Jesus as a generous, kind and compassionate God who wills that men should live their wholesome lives fully. They also give us further proof of the Divine power and the Infinite mercy of our Saviour. These miracles were worked by Jesus as reward for the trusting Faith of a synagogue ruler and of a woman with a haemorrhage. Although the Faith of the ruler may have been defective, and the woman’s Faith may have been a bit superstitious, Jesus amply rewarded the Faith they had by granting them health and life.
There is a comment in the first reading From the book of Wisdom that we need to pay closer attention to. It says _…”and there is not a destructive drug among them”_ . This brings me to the question, if God desires good health and good life for his children why do we choose death by bringing in and indulging in destructive drugs and lifestyle? Do you know your lifestyle especially what you eat contributes a lot to your health? It hurts me seeing our youths today abuse drugs. Some time in the past it was Codeine abuse in Nigeria. Daily I see people along the streets of Los Angeles who are mentally sick or simply mad, a situation they brought upon themselves by drug abuse. This is clearly the handiwork of the devil and not God’s choice for His children. For the fact that this state(CA) legalized drugs does not give you a ticket to destroy yourself.
*”Imagine a society that makes people unhappy then gives them the drugs to take away their unhappiness. Science fiction, It is already happening to some extent in our own society. Instead of removing the conditions that make people depressed modern society gives them antidepressant drugs. In effect antidepressants are a means of modifying an individual’s internal state in such a way as to enable him to tolerate social conditions that he would otherwise find intolerable.”* -Theodore J. Kaczynski. Please be careful what you take. Don’t blame God, if you choose to destroy yourself.
In the second reading, St. Paul asks the Corinthian Christian community to show to their impoverished, suffering Jewish brothers and sisters in Jerusalem the kindness and compassion which Jesus expressed in his healing ministry. Paul asked the Corinthians to be generous in their contributions to a fund being collected for these suffering brothers and sisters. The generosity of Jesus is the central theme here also, because Paul describes Jesus’ life, death and Resurrection as “the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We all are called to continue in this healing ministry of Christ as St. Paul admonishes us today. We have the sick, the aged, the handicapped always around us, let us show them compassion, love and be generous to them. Indifference to someone sick, for me is the worst maltreatment you can give to a person, it is a sin against charity.
We need to accept God’s call to health, wholeness and holiness. Jesus accepts us as we are. Hence, let us bring before him our bodily illnesses and spiritual wounds and ask for his healing touch. We should pray for healing which will give us health in every aspect of our lives – not just in our bodies – so that we may function in perfect harmony with people around us and with the environment. As Christians, we believe that Jesus continues to heal us through his instruments in the medical profession, like doctors, nurses and medical technicians. Hence, when we go to a doctor, we need to offer a prayer to Christ, the Divine Healer, that we may choose the right doctor, and that s/he may make the correct diagnosis, prescribe the correct treatment and give us the right medicine. *Let us not forget the truth that, over, above and beyond the ability and skill of the greatest human healer, Christ still works wonders of healing.* Let us also thank God for the great gift of health and use it for helping those who are sick. *”When it comes to healthcare and using our resources wisely, we have a responsibility to protect and take care of the most vulnerable in society”* -Pope Francis.
May we have faith in the infinite healing power of God. May you receive your own healing today and use your good health to glorify God in all you do.
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.
Clem C. Aladi.