Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Memories. Miracles (2018-07-01)

1 July 2018       /   13th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B

•• Wisdom 1:13-15    •• Psalm 30  •• 2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15 •• + Mark 5:21-43 ••

Title:  Memories. Miracles.

[__01__]   What are the miracles for? i.e., what is the purpose of a miracle…
            Have you ever been required – at a 25- or 75-year reunion – a school or class reunion to wear not only a name tag, but a photo of yourself – usually a graduation/class photo,  from 25 or 75 years ago?
            Helpful and humbling are these photos. Helpful to identify people whom we thought we would always have memorized.  And, humbling to realize how much we have changed – or not changed. I say “not changed” because – while iPhone 8 camera is much better than the iPhone 3 camera,  -- there are certain image-constants – externally and internally, spiritually, for you and me– over the years. We do not get re-programmed.
            However, we do get “recovered” – by being attentive to our relationships – in love of God and love of neighbor – and love of classmates and family and friend. We recover, discover who we are and remember.
[__02__]        What are the miracles for?
            I suggest that the Lord was not trying to impress the crowd with a new diagnosis.
            Regarding the young girl / daughter of Jairus, the miracle was performed at home, and contrary to the opinion of the crowd. They thought Jairus “bothering the rabbi/teacher” Peter, James and John join him, signifying the presence of the Church, but the crowd was not there. The crowd did not expect anything to happen anyway.
            What Jesus taught here was the personal relationship, personal connection that was made in each of these miraculous encounters.
            But, were they seeking a relationship? Perhaps, no. Nevertheless, Jesus wants them – and us – to recognize him and his presence. To remember.
[__03__]   It could be observed that the 2 people in need of healing were not, in the language of Wells Fargo or Chase, looking for relationship-banking or to make an investment.
            There is a sense that they regard Jesus as a magician or a machine. Perhaps, an ATM with a touch screen.
Those machines are kind of magical!
            What does the woman say and do? She insists that if she can merely make contact, she will be healed. Her life, up to this point, which has not been improved by doctors has been really “touch and go”. This woman seems to want to touch and go.
            However, Jesus reminds her that it is her faith that has brought her to this point. And, her faith – confidence in God  - will continue to sustain her.
 [__04__]   Jairus, big man on campus and at the synagogue – wants “touch and go” also.  He just wants Jesus to touch and heal his daughter.
            More, touch and go, perhaps. 
[__05__]         It’s also true that Jairus and the woman display a confidence, a confident demeanor towards Jesus our Savior.
            Both of them display more faith than the surrounding crowd. The crowd is not looking for a connection. They are also brushing up against Jesus, touching him, but they are not changed by it. They just want to see and to be seen, and they want to go.
            The woman of the crowd – the marginalized woman of the crowd – believes that if she can at least touch Jesus’ garment/clothing that something memorable, something miraculous – will happen.  (pause)
[__06 __]        Is it possible to forget who someone, even someone we know very well?
            What is it …what is the method that helps you and me to remember names?
            Have you ever seen someone on TV or seen a famous actor / celebrity – in person, in the flesh – and despite all the person’s awards, Oscars, MVP’s, et cetera, you cannot – on the spot – remember his or her name.
            These spectacular achievements alone may not be enough to make the connection and recall the name.
            On the other hand, if you or I were, let’s say classmates in 1st grade – or 2nd grade – and we saw each other many decades later …and there was at least some resemblance, even if this encounter were in a crowd at Penn Station or the Prudential Center. We would pick each other out of any line-up.   We may not even need the photo-name-tag!
            I’m suggesting that Jesus is not healing us with short-term miracles but with long-term memory.
            What do we think the miracles are for?   (pause)
[__07__]      We may – naturally or logically – see a miracle as a response to TROUBLE.
            The miracle is a 911 response Jesus.  Got trouble? Ask for a miracle.
            And, I agree that it’s good to pray for God’s protection, God’s shelter – the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes – for healing and strength.
            Yet, are we not also in this faith-relationship not just for the TRANSACTION but for the INVESTMENT.  We are in this, here, not just because we are in TROUBLE, or in need of a TRANSACTION, but also out of TRUST, faith in God. In other words, we can pray that we can accept and continue the journey under troubled circumstances too.
            Yes, faith is necessary in times of trouble, but is it not also true that our faith can prosper, thrive… grow in times of trouble?
            Trust and confidence is not something we are born with, neither GENETIC nor HEREDITARY. Though it may seem otherwise, it is not passed down from generation to generation – even in families royal or wealthy.
            And we are not told to place our ultimate – greatest -  trust in God ..this was written that earthly leaders – while they need our prayers – church leaders, government leaders – all leaders  -- do not have absolute power … in Psalm 145 we read:   put not your trust in princes.”  (Psalm 145:3)
            Trust and confidence are not things you and I are born with. Rather – trust and confidence – we receive them, in some cases, that we earn or grow into them.  This confidence can be as bright as the rising sun or it may resemble darkness and sunset. Nevertheless, confidence is something we receive as a gift, to be guarded, protected, not only for ourselves but for those we love and serve. What are the miracles for?

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