Date: Sunday, June 27, 2021
Yesterday I was picking up an order from a restaurant. Standing at the bar waiting for my food, I heard a man say: “I hate the world as it is.” His words sounded confessional. He was not spewing hatred with his buddies at the bar. He made an honest statement of his perception of the world “as it is.” There are certainly verses in the Bible to support this view -- God’s dismay with human behavior, ingratitude, and sin. But we also find verses in the Bible expressing God’s delight and love for the world. In our first reading from the Book of Wisdom, contemporary with Jesus, the author says God does not rejoice in the destruction of the living. “God fashioned all things that they might have being.” We are “wholesome” and not made for destruction and death. Justice is undying. God formed us, men and women, imperishable and in God’s image. God has a better assessment of us than we do of ourselves. “For God so loved the world that he gave us his Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal Life.” (John 3:16)
In our Gospel today according to Mark, we see God’s loving disposition toward humanity in the tender and determined way Jesus restores health and wholeness to a little girl of twelve and to a woman suffering from hemorrhaging for twelve years. Jairus, a Synagogue official, falls on his knees and pleads with Jesus: “My daughter is at the point of death. Please come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” As Jesus accompanies the distraught father, a woman breaks through the crowd to touch the cloak of Jesus. Jesus “aware that power has gone out from him” asks: “Who has touched
me?” Trembling, the woman tells Jesus of her affliction. With great kindness, Jesus assures the woman: “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” As Jesus is still speaking, news of the death of Jairus’ daughter reaches them. Disregarding the message Jesus encourages Jairus: “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” When they arrive at the home, Jesus disperses the mourners who have already gathered, he enters the child’s room, takes her by the hand and says: “Talitha Koum” meaning “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” Immediately, she gets up and walks around. Jesus offers a commonsense suggestion: “Give her something to eat.”
The wholeness and being that God desires for us is intended as a blessing for all. In our second reading, St Paul is appealing to the Corinthians to be conscious of the mother church in Jerusalem going through a severe famine. Paul is proposing a collection be taken up to relieve some of the suffering in the “Body of Christ.” Paul does not present this collection as a burden. “Your abundance at the present time should supply their needs, so that their abundance may also supply your needs.” Bishop Mike Fisher is leading us as a diocese on the Road to Renewal. The model of “Family of Parishes” encourages greater cooperation, collaboration, sharing and solidarity among neighboring faith communities.
With Jairus, his daughter and family and with the unnamed woman healed of a sickness that isolated her from her family and society, we give thanks to God for our blessings. We come to the Table of the Lord aware of Jesus offering his life for us on the cross. We are mindful of so many in need especially the citizens of Surfside Florida as they continue the rescue effort to save survivors after the collapse of the Champlin Towers condo. We are not islands unto ourselves. We are part of God’s family, brothers, and sisters in Christ.