July 1st 13th Sun in ordinary time B

Introduction

“The world’s created things have health in them”, our first reading says. Healing is part of our faith. We see Jesus in our gospel healing the woman with a haemorrhage and Jairus’s daughter. Let’s seek his healing in our lives as we confess..

Homily

Maybe you have heard of Briege McKenna, the miracle-working nun. As a young sister she suffered terribly from arthritis. It was hard to bear for one so young. One day she went to the church and begged on her knees for God to heal her. Suddenly a voice said: “Briege you are healed, now go and heal others”. She got up from her knees free from pain. Now she goes round the world preaching and holding healing masses. She wrote a best-selling book, “Miracles Do Happen”, because in that ministry she has witnessed so many miracles, physical and spiritual.

She has a special mission to heal priests, for she says, the devil is launching an assault on priests today, because they’re in the front line of God’s work. Briege has seen many spiritual miracles of healing, especially hardened sinners coming back to the church. These wonders usually happen at mass when the people are blessed with the monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament. The healing is not her’s doing but Christ’s. She tells one story of a little sick baby in its mother’s arms who suddenly looked up at the Monstance as it passed and cried out; he was healed.

You may say why this extraordinary activity? Faith shouldn’t depend on sign and wonders. But there’s nothing extraordinary about Breige’s ministry. She’s just doing what Christ did before her. In today’s Gospel we see Him healing the little girl. When he went in to heal her the crowd laughed at him. Just as the cynical world laughs at spiritual healing today. But Christ dismissed the crowd and said, “little girl arise”. He raises us up and heals the sick still even if they’re not physically cured. Sr. Briege heals by recourse to God and the power of prayer. So must we Christians, for our life in Christ is healing.

Of course in this we must first use to the full God’s ongoing miracle of medical science. Faith healing shouldn’t bypass that. Sickness is part of life and hard to explain, but without it we wouldn’t have the wonderful work of accomplished doctors, nurses and house carers. In these Christ the healer is most alive. But faith adds a further dimension of this healing, the inner one. Only in God is our healing complete, whatever its outcome, for even doctors agree that we must treat the whole person, physical and spiritual, for many illnesses have psychosomatic roots.

Thats why modern scientific studies have shown that those in hospital who have faith are much more likely to recover from sickness than those who dont. Moreover the study found they recover more quickly and are less likely to despair if terminally ill. We should not be surprised. Even non-believers see the need for faith and prayer faced with the mystery of sickness, suffering and death. God enables us to bear suffering couragiously and offer it up if it cant be healed by the ordinary means he provides. Christ healed the scars of sin as well as physical ills. For sin relates to sickness as part of our fallen human condition. In Christ it can be redeemed and turned into spiritual gold. So Like Briege McKenna or the little girl in the gospel, lets turn to God also in sickness. For other solutions are limited. The world’s hard values pass and something always comes to bring us to our end, but Christ is lord of healing love and salvation both for this world and forever and ever amen.

So as God’s people dedicated to consoling the sick in whatever way we can and praying for the dying, lets profess our faith…

Prayers of the Faithful

And as the people of God lets pray for what we need..

For our Father and all the leaders of the church that they may be shining lights leading all to the healing arms of Christ..

For civil leaders, through funding our health system to the full may they be part of the great work of healing in society..

For our youth that realising the shortness of life and its often emptiness and pain as well as its joys, they may come to where deeper life, happiness, healing and wealth is in Christ..

For ourselves that in our homes we may be the healing love and hands of Christ to those around us, especially our chidren, and sick or aged relatives and neighbours..

For the sick in body, mind or soul that they may, through our prayers and care, come to healing, comfort and peace..

For the dead that the fever of life over and their work done they may come quickly to the heavenly home prepared for them, helped by our prayers..

We ask all these prayers through Christ the only Lord of life, healing and grace for this world and forever, amen.

Reflection

The death of Michael Jackson shocked me, it reminded me of mortality; that, as Agustine says, we haven’t here a lasting city. Knowing that should make us wise. Sure, while here lets live life fully, the glory of God is man fully alive; and use our talents, as Jackson did, to enrich the world. But for inner depth and greatness lets also have faith, so that our work here will be more complete and at last we’ll flower into eternity. For even for this world we need the deeper life and inner wealth faith gives; otherwise we flounder in a short meaningless life with darkness waiting. Drugs or achohol are only false crutches before the void created by the emptiness of existence and the suffering of being; we need deeper inner hope, love and light. Lets thank God for the faith that provides such light and brings us peace in Christ both for here and forever..Hail Mary

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