From the Pastor's Desk
Today’s readings speak of the gift of life, both physical and spiritual, that God has given us. They urge and challenge us to be grateful for our health in body and soul and to use God’s gifts of life and health responsibly.
First Reading: taken from the Book of Wisdom, tells us that God gave us life and health and that it was the jealousy of the Satan that produced illness and death. The reading also suggests that the goal of our lives on earth is to know, to love, and to serve God here with perfect health in body and soul, and to share God’s immortal life forever.
In the second reading, St. Paul asks the Corinthian Christian community to show to their Jewish brothers and sisters in Jerusalem, living in poverty and sickness, the kindness and compassion which Jesus expressed in his healing ministry. Paul asked the Corinthians to be generous in their contributions to a fund being collected for their suffering brothers and sisters. The generosity of Jesus is the central theme here also, because Paul describes Jesus’ life, death and Resurrection as “the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Today’s Gospel describes two of our Lord’s miracles, the healing of a woman who suffered from a chronic bleeding disease and the returning of the dead daughter of Jairus to life. These healings teach us that Jesus willed life, and willed full life for all God’s children. The two healings also reveal Jesus as a generous, kind and compassionate God Who wills that men should live their wholesome lives fully. They also give us further proof of the Divine power and the Infinite mercy of our Savior. These miracles were worked by Jesus as reward for the trusting Faith of a synagogue ruler and of a woman with a hemorrhage. Although the Faith of the ruler might have been defective, and the woman’s Faith might have been a bit superstitious, Jesus amply rewarded the Faith they had by granting them health and life.
Life messages: 1: We need to accept God’s call to health, wholeness and holiness. Jesus accepts us as we are. Hence, let us bring before him our bodily illnesses and spiritual wounds and ask for his healing touch. As Christians, we believe that Jesus continues to heal us through his instruments in the medical profession like doctors, nurses and medical technicians. Hence, when we go to a doctor, we need to offer a prayer to Christ The Divine Healer, that we may choose the right doctor, and that he or she will make the correct diagnosis, prescribe the correct treatment and give us the right medicine. Let us not forget the truth, that Christ still works wonders of healing. Let us also thank God for the great gift of health and use it for helping those who are sick.
2: We need to continue the healing mission of the Church: As members of the Church, we are not excused from our vocation to be healers. We do our share of Christ’s healing mission by visiting the sick, by praying for their healing, and by boosting their morale with our loving presence, words of encouragement and inspiration. Thus, we may enable them to experience the compassion of Jesus the healer.
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”Ann Jillian, a three-time Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actress and singer, is an American actress born to Roman Catholic Lithuanian immigrant parents. Since 1985, she has added motivational speaking to her impressive list of credits, addressing business, medical, professional and women’s groups with her own unique blend of humor and inspiration. Her prowess extends from the world’s concert halls, to feature film and the Broadway stage. She has starred in over 25 TV movies and made hundreds of other TV appearances. Her TV movie, The Ann Jillian Story, which recounts her victory over breast cancer, was the #1 film of that TV season, but, more important, it delivered Ann’s message about the hopeful side of breast cancer to its millions of viewers. It was in 1985 that the then 35-year-old actress made headlines when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. On her way to the hospital to check the nature of the growth which she had noticed, she stopped at St. Francis de Sales Church and read the inscription on the door. “The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.” She went into the Church and prayed for the strength to accept her ordeal. The radiant trust in God and peace of mind she maintained before and after the surgery (double mastectomy), was big news in the media and a great inspiration for all cancer patients. She trusted in Jesus’ words given in today’s Gospel, “Do not be afraid; just have Faith.” Actually, this phrase is repeated in the Bible 365 times.