We begin the thirteenth week of Ordinary Time. The readings today speak of the gift of life, both physical and spiritual, that God has given to each of us and also of His desire to heal us and make us whole. The readings remind us that healing involves forgiveness of sins and faith in God. The readings further remind us of the gifts and blessings with which we have been showered. The gifts are given not only for our use, but also for the good of the community, building up God’s Kingdom here on earth.
The first reading, taken from the Book of Wisdom, defends the goodness of God and states that God intends life and not death. Death came into the world by the envy of the devil; “God did not make death, nor does He rejoice in the destruction of the living.” Further, God does not rejoice over the destruction of the living because our God is a God of life. His will for us is that we have more abundant life, life in fullness which Jesus came to offer us through His death and Resurrection. So, the truth that man’s real destiny is an unending life with God is stated for the first time in the Old Testament in the Book of Wisdom: “For righteousness is immortal. God created man for incorruption, and made him in the image of His own eternity.” This means that the goal of our lives is to know, to love and to serve God here, and to share His life forever, for all eternity in heaven. Thus, the goodness of God is revealed in His desire to share His life with us.
In the second reading, St. Paul asks the Corinthian community to show to their love and compassion to one another, especially people living in poverty and sickness. Paul tells the Corinthians to be generous in their contributions towards their suffering brothers and sisters. Paul states the generosity of Jesus, His life, death and Resurrection as a reason and a model one must follow. Though He was rich, He became poor, One like us. So, the purpose of God Incarnate is to identify Himself with us and make us like Him, to share His divine life with us.
In the Gospel we have two healings, the healing of a woman who suffered from a chronic bleeding disease and the raising of the dead daughter of Jairus back to life. These acts of healing teach us that Jesus wills life, life to the fullest. The two healings also reveal Jesus as a generous, kind, and compassionate God who wills that God’s people should live their wholesome lives fully. These miracles also give us further proof of the Divine power and the Infinite Mercy of our Savior. They were worked by Jesus as reward for the trusting Faith of a synagogue ruler and of a woman suffering with illness.
Jesus accepts us as we are and is ready to heal us, physically and spiritually. Hence, let us bring before him our pain and spiritual wounds, asking God to heal us. Confession is a powerful Sacrament where God forgives us when we confess. As a priest, I love the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I personally love going to confession and also listening, praying, and instructing people when they come to me for confession. We have confession here at Santa Sophia on every Wednesday from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. I encourage you to take advantage of this powerful Sacrament.
The readings this week invite us to have a trusting faith which is a necessary part of healing. We all have faith, but not enough, so how do we grow in faith? We grow in faith only if we attempt to get closer to God through prayer, the Sacraments, and a meditative study of the Bible. Spend time in prayer and thank the Lord for the many gifts He has given you, especially the gift of faith. Remember the beautiful saying of St. Ignatius of Loyola: “We must work as if everything depends on us, but we must pray as if everything depends on God.”
We are making great progress on the reroofing work, and are sticking to our schedule. The roof has already started looking much improved, and I am eager to see the new roof when it is completed. Fortunately, as of now we haven’t identified any rotten wood that needs to be replaced. Let us continue to pray that everything goes well, including the good weather and for the safety of the workers and our people. As you know, there will be no air conditioning in the sanctuary for the next few weeks; please bear with me in making this sacrifice. We have placed fans around the church, and we also will leave the church doors open during Mass. We also have some fencing by the nursery and preschool, which might make parking a bit difficult. If you need any assistance or information, please call the parish office.