13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 1, 2018 4:00pm and8:00am
Saint Mary Parish, Pylesville
I imagine that some of you, maybe many of you have been to one of those Amish smorgasbord restaurants up in Lancaster.
I have been to two or three of them. There are lots and lots of delicious dishes – soups, salads, meats, fish, homemade rolls, cakes, pies, ice cream, and on it goes.
It’s hard to come away without feeling full. And that’s an understatement!
Well, I see today’s gospel as a kind of spiritual smorgasbord. There are about a dozen things here that could feed and satisfy us spiritually.
I have decided to pick out just two items. In one way, they are separate and distinct.
But in another way, they are united by Jesus and our faith in him. So, let’s get started.
First, recall that the man named Jairus asks Jesus to come to his home and place his hands upon his daughter so that she may get well.
When Jesus eventually gets to the house, the daughter has died. But, Jesus touches her – takes her by the hand and restores her to life.
Along the way, before getting to Jairus’ home, we hear of a woman who has been suffering for years from a hemorrhage. She reaches out and touches Jesus’ cloak and feels healing in her body.
What’s going on here in both situations is the Jewish belief that physical touch can communicate God’s life and healing. Well, we have the same belief.
That’s why there is some kind of touch in each of our seven sacraments. Right here in the Eucharist, the touch is the giving and receiving of the bread and wine, the body and blood of Christ.
So, I recommend that we approach the Eucharist in the way that Jairus and the woman in the gospel approach Jesus. Let’s come to Communion with a conscious faith that the grace and power of God come to us here.
I recommend that we adopt a very short, personal prayer that we pray and repeat as we come to Communion. For example, “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord,”or “Jesus, you are the bread of life.”
Just pray and repeat something like this several times in the silence of our minds and hearts. If we approach Communion in this way, we open ourselves to the grace and power of God, much like Jairus and the woman in today’s gospel.
Then, I want us to notice what I have always thought was a coincidence.
The passage says that this woman had suffered with a hemorrhage for twelve years. And the daughter of Jairus was twelve years old.
I have always thought that the number twelve here was a coincidence. But, I got a new insight from my reading this past week.
The number twelve in that culture stood for completeness. So, in these two instances of serious and long illness, what is being conveyed is complete hopelessness, complete hopelessness.
But, and this is crucial, Saint Mark carefully recalls this detail and what it means for a reason. He wants to convey to us that no matter how hopeless something or someone seems to be, there is always hope and we can always turn to Jesus for help.
It might be a serious disease, a depression, or big financial troubles. It might be the death of a loved one, relationship problems, or an addiction.
Whatever it is, the point is that we can do exactly what this father Jairus and the woman in today’s gospel did. We can still turn to Jesus.
We can turn to Jesus for help just to deal with the darkness or for help to get us through the dark tunnel and back into the light. In other words, there is always room for hope with Jesus.
So, I have limited us to two items on this spiritual smorgasbord: 1) Touch, and 2) Hope.
And I hope you come away spiritually nourished and satisfied this morning.