“We must strengthen, defend, preserve and comfort each other. We must love one another. We must bear one another’s burdens. We must not look only on our things, but also on the things of our brother. We must rejoice together, mourn together, labour and suffer together.” – John Winthrop
While Jesus was speaking, up came one of the officials who bowed low in front of him and said, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and her life will be saved.” Jesus rose and, with his disciples, followed him.
Then from behind him came a woman, who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years, and she touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, “If I can only touch his cloak I shall be well again.” Jesus turned round and saw her; and he said to her, “Courage, my daughter, your faith has restored you to health.” And from that moment the woman was well again.
When Jesus reached the official’s house, and saw the flute-players, with the crowd making a commotion he said, “Get out of here; the little girl is not dead, she is asleep.” And they laughed at him. But when the people had been turned out he went inside and took the little girl by the hand; and she stood up. And the news spread all round the countryside.
“Get out of here; the little girl is not dead, she is asleep. And they laughed at him.”
I have been encountering several pieces of sad news lately. A close friend’s father has just passed away after a three-year battle with cancer. Another priest whom I know has cancer too and whose condition seems to be worsening.
Sometimes it is not simply the enemies of the faith who laugh and scorn at our Christian belief in miracles. Sometimes, faced with illness and the bitter fruit of death, we Christians are sorely tempted to cry out and laugh in bitter irony at Our Lord’s seemingly inept power. “He healed before, why does he not do so in my case?”
Other Christians, out of a sense of desperation or otherwise, attempt to explain away the miraculous elements of Jesus teaching and reduce it to the level of pure ethics. It somehow seems less disappointing when Our Lord did not work any miracle for anybody.
Yet I believe both attitudes will not save us from despair. We must hold that our Lord’s miracles are true miracles, they are a demonstration, a token of God’s mercy and power of death and destruction.
Yet we must also hold that our Lord’s mission was not primarily that of a miracle worker but a saviour from sin and to restore man once again to friendship with God and eternal life. Our human condition is fundamentally flawed. The clock of death continues ticking even if we are miraculously cured. We know that the little girl’s mortal life ended again. She too is in need of a saviour to bring her to eternal life.
Yes indeed, for those who do not believe, Our Lord turns them away for they only see death and annihilation. But for us who do believe, through the eyes of faith, our loved ones who have passed from this world are truly risen in the Lord. Yes indeed, our loved ones are not dead, only asleep and they will awaken unto the Lord and into his eternal rest forever. And we too, will see them again in paradise when we pass from our earthly journey to our heavenly home.
My friend and her brother gave a very moving eulogy of faith. “When I was born, I had an earthly father and a heavenly one, now I know that both of them are in heaven watching over me”. – Yes indeed, perfect love casts out all fear!
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nick Chui)
Prayer intention: For those who are experiencing desolation and a crisis in faith.
Thanksgiving: For those whose faith is a pillar for others to lean on.
Tue, 12 Sep – 1 Corinthians 6:1-11; Luke 6:12-19; Most Holy Name of Mary
Wed, 13 Sep – 1 Corinthians 7:25-31; Luke 6:20-26; Memorial for John Chrysostom, bishop and doctor
Thu, 14 Sep – Numbers 21:4b-9 or Philemon 2:6-11; John 3:13-17; Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Fri, 15 Sep – 1 Hebrews 5:7-9; John 19:25-27 or Luke 2:33-35; Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
Sat, 16 Sep – 1 Corinthians 10:14-22; Luke 6:43-49; Memorial for St. Cornelius, pope, & Cyprian, bishop, martyrs
Sun, 17 Sep – Isaiah 50:5-9a; James 2:14-18; Mark 8:27-35; Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.