My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
Today’s readings are about life and death. And about that beautiful interaction of Jesus and a family.
As I was saying, Sacred Scripture today is helping us to reflect on God’s plan for humanity and the need to trust in him.
Our first reading today from the Book of Wisdom tells us a beautiful truth:
God did not make death …
For God formed man to be imperishable,
the image of his own nature he made him.
The truth is, my dear brothers and sisters, that God made us for life. All the sickness and disease in the world, the scourge of death — this was not how God intended his creation.
So, first reflection today is the fact that God loves life. He wants us to be happy and enjoy the good things of the Earth. And he has destined us to even a better life: eternal happiness in Heaven.
And I think it’s important for us to have it always present because it gives us a better perspective in life and helps us to make the best of the gift of life and prepare ourselves for eternal life.
In the Gospel story that we just heard is a traumatic story about life and death and the love that burns for the children.
The family story.
We hear about the official from the Synagog, Jairus, and how he comes to Jesus in desperation because his twelve-year-old is dying. We can hear the emotion in his words:
My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live.
And as we follow the beautiful Scripture passage, we can see how Jesus loves this father and this family. “Do not be afraid, just have faith.”
He calls the father to have faith. And he goes to his home and he takes the mother and the father together into the child’s room. And he commands the child to rise up and, of course, she does.
It is a beautiful story of a family that has faith in Jesus and is delivered from sickness and death.
Pope Francis said this morning, in Rome, he said, “Every Time when Jesus approaches us — when we go to him — we hear this from God the Father, ‘you are my son, you are my daughter, you are healed. I heal all, everyone and everything.’”
My brothers and sisters, today, we need to renew our trust in God. We need to strengthen our faith, knowing that God’s plans for us, for humanity is the way to make the best of the gift of life.
Sometimes is seems that our society, that we think that we know better. That we want to make the decision about the beginning and the end of life. We want to make the decision about marriage.
We want to make the decision about what is best for us, forgetting that we are children of God. That God is our Father, that he has created us and he wants the best for us.
Isn’t it beautiful to hear the reaction the Apostles, the disciples, even the crowd. St. Mark says that they were utterly astounded. They couldn’t believe it!
The girl was dead and then she was alive! This is the same excitement that we must have.
Also, Pope Francis said this morning, that the Gospel today invites us to live in the certainty of the Resurrection. “Jesus is Lord — he has power over evil and death,” Pope Francis said, “and Jesus wants to take us into the Father’s home, where life reigns.”
So our faith is the truth of God’s plan for the human person, from conception to natural death. From marriage and the family. A life of love of God and love for others that will give us the peace and joy that we are all looking for.
Let’s ask for the gift of faith, have a strong faith to really trust in God.
I know that this past couple of weeks we all have been following the tragic events at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. What happened is sad, tragic, and senseless.
We pray today especially for the end of racism, discrimination, and violence in our country.
But what struck me in a special way about this tragedy is the way that people in the Church responded to the horrible tragedy — with mercy and love and forgiveness for the man who is accused of doing the shooting.
They told the young man that they forgive him. Amazing! Beautiful!
And they asked that God have mercy on his soul. This is a beautiful witness to us Christians but it is a witness to our whole society.
We need to trust in God. We need to be more understanding with others. We need to listen more and be more patient with those who disagree with us.
So, my brothers and sisters, the lesson for us today is that we need to stay close to Jesus. We need to trust in him, to trust in his promises, just like the father in today’s Gospel trusted in Jesus’ words.
And then St. Paul tells us, in the second reading of today’s Mass that we have to respond to the grace of God by giving ourselves and what we have to others. He tells us:
Your abundance at the present time should supply their needs,
so that their abundance may also supply your needs.
This is how we are called to live — trusting in God and giving to others who are in need. Doing works of healing and love, just as Jesus did.
The people at Emmanuel Church in Charleston, have a model in their congregation, a saint. They say, “We enter to worship, we depart to serve.”
My brothers and sisters, this is what every celebration of the Eucharist is all about. This is what Jesus did in the Gospel today.
So this week let us try to make little acts of mercy and forgiveness. And sharing with our brothers and sisters the beauty of our faith. The beauty of God’s plan for humanity.
And let us especially keep our brothers and sisters in Charleston, South Carolina in our prayers.
Let us pray for our country and our leaders. Let us ask for God’s grace to be the culture of truth and love. A family culture and a marriage culture and a culture of life and dignity and respect for every single person.
And may Our Blessed Mother Mary help us to have that faith of the family we heard about in today’s Gospel. The faith that Jesus can heal us and save us.
1. Readings (Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B): Wisd. 1:13-15, 2:23-24; Ps. 20:2, 4-6, 11-13; 2 Cor. 8:7, 9, 13-15; Mark 5:21-43.