XIII Sunday of Ordinary Time
Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24
2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15
Mark 5:21-43 or 5:21-24, 35b-43
Thoughts for your consideration:
This week’s lectionary readings remind us of the value of life. We have heard it summarized so many times before that our God is the God of life. In the book of Wisdom and in the Gospel reading we are told about this unconditional allegiance that God and Christ have for the promotion and preservation of life. Furthermore in the book of Wisdom we are told that “the generative forces of the world are wholesome.”
Of course one question that many of us will probably ask ourselves as we hear this passage is: “then what about the reality of death and destruction in our world?” How do we reconcile this divine ideal regarding life with the reality of death? Is the presence of death an affirmation of our irreconcilably corrupt nature? That does not leave us with a very hopeful theology; it would also negate the reconciliation of God and humanity through the death and resurrection of Christ. Do we then ascribe death to another divine influence? This would fly in the face of our monotheistic faith. While we believe that God exists in a mystical relationship that we call the Trinity we, like our Jewish and Muslim brethren, fully subscribe to One God.
The book of Wisdom offers us an insight into the presence of death in the midst of life when it qualifies that “righteousness is immortal.” If we can humble ourselves to accept that God’s ways are not our own then perhaps we need to redefine what life is. Life is not merely existence. For God life is existence with meaning, or better yet a divine purpose. To be truly alive is to exist for God. To exist for God is in turn to exist for all and with all of creation; to live in a form of ultimate harmony where Creation and the Trinity can live as one.
The second reading takes us further into this qualification of what it means to truly live. To enter into this mystical relationship with God and creation, a relationship that the gospel constantly invites us to, we must live for the service of all so that we can all live as one. We must all live simply, so that others may simply live. As Paul reminds the Corinthian community, their own abundance must serve the needs of their brethren in need, just as we would want their abundance to serve our own needs. True life is one that is lived in righteousness towards one another. Paul is discussing righteousness in terms of material generosity and charity. In Mark we hear of Jesus achieving righteousness through healing the sick and dying. These are just two areas of righteousness that call for our attentiveness.
As we believe in one God so too must we acknowledge each other as members of one global community. It is our Christian responsibility to see to it that our abundance serves the needs of all. Currently in our nation we are struggling over the issue of universal healthcare. Certainly we can discuss the details of how we can construct a healthcare system that can work best with the political and economic structures that we have. But we must not compromise our Christian responsibility to promote the quality and meaning of life through a universal healthcare system. Christ did not reprimand the woman with a hemorrhage who touched his cloak; instead he affirmed her faith and maintained her desire to be healthy. Now we as a nation are given this opportunity to provide for the health of our brothers and sisters in need. If our abundance is meant to serve the needs of others then we must take this opportunity to see that all have access to a good and universal healthcare system.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group:
- When have your encountered people who are in need of healing or health care and have not had access to it?
- Where do you see unnecessary death in our world?