LATEST HOMILY
THIRTEENTH SUNDAY in ORDINARY TIME
June 30, 2024


The lives of the saints can be summed up in their continuous search for God. The saints were on a quest to find and to know God. Certainly, this should be the quest of every Christian. But unlike the average Christian, many of the saints’ search for God is well documented. Saint Augustine in his Confession opens with a prayer that contains the cry of his faith for understanding: “Let me seek Thee, Lord, and let me utter my prayer believing in Thee... My faith, Lord, cries to Thee, the faith that Thou hast given me.”  In a similar vein St. Anselm in his Proslogion prays for understanding of his faith. “But I do desire to understand Your truth a little, that truth that my heart believes and loves.”  There are many examples of the saints searching for God, a search for a genuine understanding of God to strengthen their faith. 

To live the Christian life, we need with the help of divine grace to strengthen our faith. Faith prevents us from a view of fatalism. That there is no future. The first reading from the book of Wisdom helps us in this regard. The passage is a defense of Judaism in the centuries leading up to the birth of Christ.  Such a defense was necessary because the Hellenistic world tolerated the worship of many gods, it also reduced religion to the cultic manipulation of those gods. This resulted in faith being viewed as a social function. In reaction, the author of Wisdom urged his readers to take their faith to heart, to make a relationship with YHWH personal. The defense of resurrection can also be found in the passage. Recall that the Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the body.  

Our first reading weaves morality and eternity together. The righteous man will enjoy the resurrection. Indeed, God did not intend death when he created the cosmos, nor does he enjoy the death of his creatures. Just as his virtues are unending, so is humanity, for death is, by definition, unjust. The passage goes on to defend the doctrine of the resurrection against the Hellenistic view of fatalism. Life is not simply subject to the whims of the gods or a universe that is indifferent to one's actions. Life has meaning and is useful. Certainly, our life here on earth is limited, but it does not give way to selfishness and the oppression of the good. Therefore, our actions do have consequences. We were created by YHWH for immortality, but evil deprived us of that gift.  

The Christian view of humanity is that we are better than the world views us. God has made us for himself, and God is eternal, therefore immortality is our future. Jesus’ action in today’s gospel reflects this belief. For the sake of a child, Jesus agrees to come to Jairus’ house, he endured ridicule, and raised the dead to life. His actions in Mark’s gospel so often have the elements of his death and resurrection. Both Jairus and the afflicted woman searched for the Lord and when they found him experienced healing weather directly or for their loved one. The afflicted woman because of her condition would have been rendered unclean and was not supposed to be in the crowd much less touching a rabbi. Yet in seeking the Lord, her faith increased, and it was her faith that healed her. Even with the news of his daughter’s death, Jesus reassures Jairus “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” His daughter was raised from the dead and restored to her rightful place at home and in society. A reflection of Jesus’ own experience, he experienced rejection and death but was restored to his rightful place at the right hand of the Father. 

Jesus promises the same for us Christians. For we are made by God for God. This is what the saints understood and continuously searched for the living God. Our purpose is to search through the eyes of faith for God who confirms us in love. As Saint Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.”   


 

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Updated: July 7, 2024

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