…That You May Have Faith
In today’s Gospel passage from Saint Mark, Jesus heals the “woman afflicted with hemorrhages” and raises up Jairus’ daughter. The observers of these events were “utterly astounded.” No kidding! But there we are again, Jesus’ words from last Sunday’s Gospel reading, still ringing in our ears, “Do you not yet have faith?” As a matter of fact, Jesus told the woman suffering from hemorrhages, who he cured, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.”
While the events of the Gospel today are startling and amazing, for me, the words from today’s Old Testament reading from Wisdom are even more so:
GOD DID NOT MAKE DEATH.
Well, if God didn’t make it, who did? I thought God made everything. The reading goes on to explain, “But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world.” Clearly, Wisdom means to convince us that “God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature; and furthermore, [God does not] “rejoice in the destruction of the living.” So, for Jairus, the woman with hemorrhages, and for us the fear of imminent death is but distraction from the truth of God who is ALL LIFE. And I believe that one who understands this is much closer to understanding St. Paul’s declaration that “Jesus is ALL YES.” (2Cor)
Perhaps in St. Paul’s words to us today we might be enlightened further: “though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” This is actually Jesus’ way of saying yes to life and no to death. It is the same path for us, for when we are impoverished (read: humble and detached), then we are best positioned to make others rich (read: loved and cared for). This is the promotion of life, is it not? This is when we live our faith in natural conception to natural death, because we do not believe in death as DEATH, but rather BIRTH to eternal life.
Reality is that far more do not experience the type of miracles reported in today’s Gospel from Mark; far more actually lose children to illness and tragedy; far more do not survive the illnesses that beset them. Jesus was very clear about the reason for this: “I perform miracles that you may have faith.” There it is again—FAITH. Jesus’ power over physical illness—indeed, all his earthly miracles—were always meant to point the way to his eventual victory over sin and death—and to his being God, The Son. May we who have heard this Good News today, see the daily miracles in life’s journey here on Earth for what they really are—invitations to FAITH in the ultimate miracle of our own deliverance to Heaven.