Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he had reached a certain place he passed the night there, since the sun had set. Taking one of the stones to be found at that place, he made it his pillow and lay down where he was. He had a dream: a ladder was there, standing on the ground with its top reaching to heaven; and there were angels of God going up it and coming down. And the Lord was there, standing over him, saying, ‘I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac. I will give to you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants shall be like the specks of dust on the ground; you shall spread to the west and the east, to the north and the south, and all the tribes of the earth shall bless themselves by you and your descendants.
Be sure that I am with you; I will keep you safe wherever you go, and bring you back to this land, for I will not desert you before I have done all that I have promised you.’ Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said,
‘Truly, the Lord is in this-place and I never knew it!’ He was afraid and said, ‘How awe-inspiring this place is! This is nothing less than a house of God; this is the gate of heaven!’ Rising early in the morning, Jacob took the stone he had used for his pillow, and set it up as a monument, pouring oil over the top of it. He named the place Bethel, but before that the town was called Luz.
Jacob made this vow, ‘If God goes with me and keeps me safe on this journey I am making, if he gives me bread to eat and clothes to wear, and if I return home safely to my father, then the Lord shall be my God. This stone I have set up as a monument shall be a house of God.’
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.
I will never leave you until I have done what I promised you
There are many ways in which we judge how God answers our prayers. Mostly, we just observe if what we ask comes to fruition. By doing so, we trust our own wishes more than God’s judgment. Today’s gospel shows two examples of how Jesus comes to dwell in a person’s life, and how that person responds to the faith that Jesus bestows them with. Faith is not blind faith, but a concrete blessing that is given by the Holy Spirit. If we pray and believe in what God promises us, we will have our answers.
In the first example, God came to Jacob in his sleep and promises him fruitfulness and protection wherever he goes, and also that God will bring him back to the land he was sleeping in. Jacob awoke fully aware of God’s presence and his promises. Immediately he praises God and in return says, “If God remains with me, to protect me on this journey I am making… the Lord shall be my God.” And the Lord is indeed his God. Jacob believed in God’s word and responded by dedicating his life to be God’s blessing.
In the second example, there was a woman who suffered hemorrhages from 12 years. She strongly believed that if only she can touch Jesus’ cloak, she would be cured. Her belief in Jesus’ deity and omni-powerfulness was so strong that Jesus could not resist her faith. “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” He said. And she was cured. This teaches me that if I can develop a faith to be so strong as that woman’s, truly nothing is impossible.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Serene Goh)
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord for the gift of faith and my belief in the eternal life.
Prayer: I pray that my faith in You will grow stronger day and day.