Sunday, June 28, 2015

Healed by Faith

This weekend, we are lucky as Mark's Gospel presents us with two miracles relating to healing in the same passage.  As Jesus is on the way to a man's home to raise a little girl, another woman seeks him out and touches his cloak as he passes by.  Immediately she is healed and Jesus continues on to raise the girl from the dead.  In both cases, he points out that faith is the gift through which the healings took place.  

“Daughter, your faith has saved you."Mark 5:34 
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”Mark 5:36
In both cases it seems as if the people in the stories are desperate for healing from somewhere.  The woman healed through Jesus' cloak had been suffering for years and no doctors' care could help her.  The man from synagogue begged Jesus to visit his daughter since she was near death.  The same could be said for us... do we only reach out to God when we are desperate?  It is sometimes hard for us to make the connection with God when things are going well.  We don't always see the need to either thank him or simply acknowledge his existence.  In a challenging situation or in circumstances similar to the ones we read about this week, turning to God as a last resort is one of the things we are best at.  While this is very much acceptable and right of us to do, we must also remember that God guides us through the good times in our lives as well through the blessings and talents he bestows upon us.  

Through these healing stories, we learn that our faith is the vehicle through which we can fully see the power of God.  The man who comes to Jesus about his daughter is named Jairus.  A quick search online brings up multiple sources which seem to agree that the name Jairus roughly means "whom God enlightens."  Nothing within the scriptures is pure circumstance.  The fact that the man's name is Jairus is significant as it is through him that Jesus' healing power is revealed.  Because he is described as a man from the synagogue, we can make a little bit of an assumption that he had seen, or at least heard of, Jesus many times around the area and he would have known of  Jesus' miracles.  God enlightened him with a strong faith in Jesus which gave him the strength to ask for help.  Without the man's faith in Jesus, the girl is not healed.  Without his faith, this story never provides us a witness of Jesus' healing power.

This week in our daily lives, let us attempt to have a stronger faith- a faith that trusts in the power of God and his plan for our lives.  Let us always turn to him in thanksgiving and praise for the good times in our lives and then look to him for strength and solace through the tough times.  

Sunday, June 7, 2015

On the Feast of Corpus Christi

This Sunday, the Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ- perhaps more commonly known as Corpus Christi.  Tradition has it that a young girl named Juliana received visions from Christ starting at the time that she was 16 years old.  Through her prayerful devotion to the Eucharist, she began to learn that Christ was calling her to help institute a celebration which focused on the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  It was the local bishop who accepted her proposal for the new feast day which led to other bishops introducing it within their own dioceses in the area.  As we will experience on Sunday after the 10:30 AM Mass, the Feast of Corpus Christi concludes with a procession of the Blessed Sacrament around the local area.

One of the most interesting stories related to this feast comes from a priest who celebrated mass in the town of Blosena in the Umbria region of Italy.  In the course of celebrating the consecration, he began to have feelings of doubt that the bread and wine were truly becoming the Body and Blood of Christ.  He then saw the consecrated bread show a red liquid substance which looked like blood.  It was determined through the Church that the blood had come to the altar as a sign to the priest that the Real Presence was true.  The blood-marked corporal is now preserved in the local cathedral for all to see.

We have all doubted things in life but our faith gives us the power to believe.  Each time we celebrate the Mass, we remember Christ's sacrifice for us but we also welcome Him to the table of our lives.  The Eucharist is what sets us as Catholics apart from other faiths.  If you step back and think about the significance of what we believe, it is a pretty powerful display of faith.  The fact that Jesus is present through His Body and His Blood should give us tremendous hope.  Just has God sent His Son in the form of a man to walk among us 2,000 years ago, the Son comes to us each day to lead us back to the Father.

So this weekend, take extra care to listen to the Eucharistic Prayers which walk us through the mystery of faith that we believe... the True Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist.