Summary: Today’s Gospel shows Jesus curing the woman who had suffered from hemorrhages for twelve years. Then he goes on to raise the young daughter of Jairus from the dead. And Jesus has given us those same powers. You and I can cure the sick and we can help peop
Seeds for Sowing - Vol. IV - Issue 4, No. 32
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
July 2, 2000
* Wisdom 1:13-15, 2:23-25
* 2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15
A Fair Balance
The Power of Christ
Imagine Jesus Christ appearing to you. He has decided that he needs to give someone the power to cure the sick and to raise the dead. After looking through the whole world, he has chosen you as the one to whom he will give these incredible powers. But he wants to make sure that you really want these wonderful gifts that he is going to give to you, so he asks you, "Would you like me to give you the power to cure the sick and to raise the dead?" Without a moment’s hesitation you say, "Yes, Lord. That would be wonderful. I would be able to do so much good if I had those powers". And so Jesus gives you those powers.
Sounds quite unbelievable, doesn’t it? And yet, that is exactly what has happened to so many of us. Today’s Gospel shows Jesus curing the woman who had suffered from hemorrhages for twelve years. Then he goes on to raise the young daughter of Jairus from the dead. And Jesus has given us those same powers. You and I can cure the sick and we can help people, who were as good as dead, come back to life.
How can we do this? How can we exercise these powers? The secret lies in our reading from Paul to the Corinthians. The background to this reading is the great famine that struck in the land of Palestine, in which many people were deprived of their livelihood. There was a great drought resulting in a famine in which many of the Christians of Jerusalem suffered because they did not have enough to eat.
When word of this came to Paul, he determined to enlist the aid of all the Gentile churches for the relief of Jewish Christians. He thought it would be a marvelous way of expressing the oneness of the body of Christ and so, wherever he went, he told them about the need in Jerusalem.
All of this brings us to the answer to our question: How can we cure the sick and raise the dead? Our power to cure and to raise the dead lies in the act of sharing. Through sharing what we have, others can become cured, and those who are living inhuman lives can be raised out of their miserable existence, to become human once more.
It takes financial resources to bring medicine and people to those who are suffering from sickness. It takes financial resources to allow people to escape from inhuman living conditions--to live a life worthy of a human person. St. Paul urges us to an attitude of sharing. He says that, "it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their needs." And that, "The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little."
Fair balance. Paul is not asking us to live in poverty. We don’t have to empty out our bank accounts, sell all of our possessions, give up our home. No, we are asked to share our resources. There is a rather silly saying that says, "you can never be too thin or have too much money." The Scriptures tell us that if others don’t have what they need, and we have too much, then in order to be like Christ, we are to share from that abundance. Yes, it is possible to have too much money.
A Rather Expensive Funeral
The story is told about a man who many years ago spent $200,000 on his own funeral. Estranged from his wife and children, that bitter man squandered all his money on his own burial and left them nothing. Because the casket and other expenses added up to only $100,000, he ordered that the remaining $100,000 be spent on orchids! Only three people attended that memorial service.
This poor man was a slave to his own money. Instead of using it to free others from sickness and death, he squandered it in an act of profound selfishness. We are well into the Jubilee Year. During this year we are asked, in a special way, to be aware of how we can bring freedom to others. What could be more freeing than being able to provide the necessary resources so that others might live?
Give her something to eat
Our Gospel today ends with a rather strange line. Listen to this: Jesus strictly ordered that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. I wonder why the Gospel writer thought it was important enough to add the words, give her something to eat. Your guess is as good as mine on this one, but I somehow think these words simply reflect the compassion of Jesus. He has just raised her from the dead. Now he knows she has other basic needs. So he asks for food for her. Perhaps he thought that the others would be so overwhelmed by the miracle that giving her food would be the last thing on their minds. But he doesn’t want them to forget about her present needs. Nor must we forget about the present needs of millions of people around the world. Needs for the basics--food, shelter, medicine.
We have the power to cure the sick and raise people from inhuman living conditions. May we have the courage and the will to use that power.