When you have Problems, Go to Jesus

Homily for the Thirteenth Sunday of Year B

by Fr. Tommy Lane

We all experience imperfection, brokenness, temptation and sin. This was not how God planned it. We know that God had a wonderful plan, God created everything good. The book of Genesis tells us everything changed with the first sin of Adam and Eve, and that affected everything since. Our first reading today reminds us of that,

For God formed man to be imperishable;
the image of his own nature he made him.
But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world (Wis 2:23-24)

But God can turn everything to good and from the beginning already planned the remedy, and the remedy is Jesus. Jesus is the solution to our imperfection, brokenness, temptation and sin. In the second reading today, Paul writes about it this way,

“you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” (2 Cor 8:9)

So Paul says Christ wants to lift us up, as he says “so that by his poverty you might become rich.”

Jesus wants to lift us up from imperfection, brokenness, temptation and sin, not only in the next life but right now. Jesus wants us to have the fullness of his life now, and this is precisely what we see happening in the Gospel today (Mark 5:21-43). Jairus’ daughter died and Jesus raised her to life again. The woman hemorrhaging blood for twelve years was cured when she touched Jesus’ cloak. In these miracles Jesus is teaching us. He wants us to enjoy his life now, not to wait until eternal life but to enjoy his life now.

Jesus said to the woman healed of hemorrhaging, “your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” (Mark 5:34) But why did Jesus embarrass her in public, asking who touched him, making her afraid? He wanted it known publicly that she was healed. She was considered unclean in Jewish thinking because she was hemorrhaging. The way to become clean again was to bathe in a ritual bath called a mikvah, a bath with running water, and wait the prescribed number of days. When someone was unclean it meant he or she could not worship with the community. The woman could not go to the temple for twelve years. Anything she touched would also be considered unclean and would also have to be put into the mikvah to be cleansed. If she was young and married she could not have children because if she touched anyone, even her husband, he also would be unclean. So when the woman was healed by touching Jesus’ cloak, not only was she physically healed, but in every way. She was healed socially, psychologically and spiritually. By revealing in public what happened to her Jesus is making it publicly known that she has been healed. Now everyone knows she can worship with them again, she can socialize with them again, and if she is young and married she can have children. Jesus has completely changed her life, he gave her a new life again.

In the house of Jairus Jesus said the child was not dead but asleep. Jesus said to her, “Little girl, I tell you, arise.” Jesus says to each of us, “Don’t go through life asleep, arise.” We see something in common in both miracles; someone went to Jesus in faith, the little girl’s father and the hemorrhaging woman. When there are problems, go to Jesus with faith. Don’t stay where you are, get up and go to Jesus. Like Jairus and like the ill woman, go to Jesus. How can we go to Jesus? We can go to Jesus by praying to him. Spend time every day in prayer with Jesus. Read the Bible. The Bible is a love letter from God to you. If you want to know what God thinks, read the Bible. You can also go to Jesus by receiving the sacraments. When you receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist you meet Jesus. The woman was healed not by touching Jesus but touching his cloak, we might say a relic of Jesus, and recently some people went to a relic of Jesus by going on pilgrimage to what is believed to be his burial cloth, the Shroud of Turin (2015 Exposition). In the lives of the women in the Gospel today we see fulfilled what Paul wrote in the second reading,

“you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” (2 Cor 8:9)

We all have crosses to carry. We all experience imperfection, brokenness, temptation and sin. Jesus wants to raise you up also to be rich, to use of words of Paul in the second reading, to have his life now, not only when you meet him in eternity. Go to Jesus in prayer every day, reading the Bible, receiving the sacraments. When you have problems, go to Jesus. Jesus made one statement on another occasion that sums up what happened in today’s Gospel, “I came so that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) Jesus is offering you more abundant life. All you have to do is go him in faith like Jairus or the ill woman. “…your faith has made you well; go in peace…” (Mark 5:34)

© Fr. Tommy Lane 2015

This homily was delivered in a parish in Pennsylvania.

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