Saturday, June 27, 2015

Our need to touch Jesus

Readings: Wis 1:13-15.2:23-24; Ps 30:2.4-6.11-13; 2 Cor 8:7.9.13-15; Mark 5:21-43

Since this is a written reflection on the readings for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time and not a homily I am going to deliver from the ambo, I am going to do a lectio divina-like exercise. I will choose a sentence or phrase from each of the three readings as well as from our Psalm and then attempt a synthesis:

"For God formed us to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made us" (Wis 2:23).

"You changed my mourning into dancing" (Ps 30:13a).

"your abundance at the present time should supply their needs, so that their abundance may also supply your needs, that there may be equality" (2 Cor 8:14).

"Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction" (Mark 5:34).

This week we have been bombarded by the word "equality." It's difficult if not impossible to argue against the equality of people. I'll go one further, when thinking about people and God or people and the law, it's not even desirable to argue against the equality of persons.

As human beings it only takes a little experience to see that there are ways we're equal and ways we're not equal. To state a simple case-in-point, my drawing talents are not equal to someone who can actually draw. Equality becomes problematic when we begin to assert that equality erases differences that are part of the world, that arise from reality, that are embedded in nature, like the complementary difference between men and women. Erasing differences in the name of equality is not equality, but ideology. Ideology is served by propaganda. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not an ideology and relies on evangelization and catechesis, neither of which are indoctrination.

In our second reading St Paul tells us Jesus, who was rich, became poor so that we can become rich through our poverty. According to Paul, how do we become rich through poverty? By giving what we have freely to help others, putting the need of the one with less before our own wants. Our poverty is not merely a way we're all equal, it is the way we are equal. Luigi Giussani expressed this well when he said, "Existence expresses itself as ultimate ideal in begging. The real protagonist of history is the beggar: Christ who begs for man's heart, and man's heart that begs for Christ."

It's when you freely give Christ that for which He begs, your heart, that you stop merely existing and begin to live life eternal. It is by this giving yourself to Him body, blood, soul, and humanity that you are made infinitely rich. This is a paradox. The only way to unravel it is by trusting the Lord. It is by giving yourself to Christ that you experience the beginning of being restored to God's likeness, which, unlike the imago Dei that is ineradicable, is lost through our brokenness and can only be restored by God's grace given us in Christ through the power of their Spirit. Because grace builds on nature, it is by giving your heart to Christ that you experience your imperishable nature that comes from your being made in God's image.

Like the women in our Gospel who was afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years, you need healing. Once you grasp this need, in whatever way you become aware of it, you become a beggar. The woman Jesus healed became a beggar after she spent everything she had seeking a cure. Whether you turn to Jesus as your first option, or, like the woman in today's Gospel, come to Him in desperation, He will not turn you away. He will heal you and restore you by His amazing grace.

Jesus, I trust in You.

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