Today’s Homily and Separated Families

Thomas Merton, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.”

Today’s gospel informs us that we need to be engaged and not detached.   It is interesting to note that in the Hebrew scriptures we do not find the laying of hands to heal someone.  We find the laying of hands in the Christian Scriptures.  This shows us that Jesus was involved with people.  He touched them and allowed them to touch him.  When Jesus healed he gave away part of himself.  We need to give away part of ourselves whenever we reach out to help others.

When someone is “Saved” by Jesus, the saving is deeper than just spiritual it is Whole or Holistic. A person’s entire being is restored and made whole.

Once again, we have a woman mistreated because of the functions of her body.  This woman suffered from excessive bleeding and because of this she is considered ceremonially defiled.  This story always reminds me of a parishioner at Queen of Peace who was told that because she was divorced, she could not receive the Eucharist.  For thirty-five years this woman faithfully attended mass but never received. This encounter between Jesus and the woman as well as with the daughter of Jairus is all we need to know about how Jesus would handle immigrant families seeking asylum.  After the woman was healed, Jesus sought her out.  His acceptance of her after she told him her whole story was part of the healing process.  Jesus showed compassion for her.  Rather than turn her away, he welcomed her.   He did more than that.  Jesus engaged her.  The encounter became relational.   For Jesus, healing in and of itself was not the end.  The end was full restoration into society.   That is what Jesus accomplished with this woman.  He engaged her in conversation and restored her to society.

Although the encounter with this woman delayed Jesus, he continued on to the daughter of Jairus.

It is instructive to see that the messengers betray their lack of faith, “Why put the Teacher to any further trouble?”

Once again, Jesus showed compassion to the little girl and her parents.   He restored the little girl to her parents.  Jesus never questioned if either the woman or little girl were worthy of his compassion.   All Jesus was asked to do was love. “Love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.”

Raising the girl from the dead is a symbol of passage from death to new life.  A follower of Jesus gives up the old in exchange for new life – here and now.

The crowds were overcome with astonishment! This expression in scripture is a very strong term for amazement.  They were astonished on many levels.  One would be the fact that Jesus persevered in spite of all the obstacles.  Jesus could have given up several times before visiting the house of Jairus.   That was not even on this mind.  Even when all around him doubted and ridiculed him Jesus did not give up, did not turn back, and did not acquiesce. People were overcome with astonishment because they experienced a man of integrity.

Our country has much to learn from this encounter when dealing with the “other”.   Followers of Jesus do not judge those in need of help.  Followers of Jesus do not make excuses not to help someone who is hurting.  Followers of Jesus do not lie, do not obfuscate, misrepresent, confuse and create chaos.  The separation of families during Slavery and now with our immigration crises cries out to the heavens for justice.  When we add the Trail of Tears and the Japanese Internment, our country has great reason to seek forgiveness.

Notice how Jesus is ridiculed for expecting something positive when others have already given up hope.  How many times are we ridiculed because of our hope?  For standing up for what is right?  For attempting to bring peace and justice? How many of us have been derided because of our stance on immigration – especially when we stand up for separated families?

Mary McGlone in Celebration shares this information about the former slave and U.S. citizen, Sojourner Truth who proclaimed, “I will not allow my life’s light to be determined by the darkness around me.”

Giving of oneself to others echoes in our second reading today.  This passage speaks of balancing one’s surplus against others present need.  “The one who gathered much had not excess, and the one who gathered little did not go short.”  Part of being a follower of Jesus is to ensure that justice and peace are cultivated.  When we give of ourselves we bring justice and justice enhances peace.

Thomas Merton, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.”

 

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