One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

July 10, 2006

For Monday of the Fourteenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

[I am away until Thursday, and am posting these homilies ahead of time.]

Matthew 9:18-26

Today in the Gospel we witness the faith of a father who falls down on the ground in front of Jesus and dares to ask him to use the power of his hand to raise to raise his daughter from the dead.
In the face of such faith, the Lord says nothing, but immediately stands up and goes to give the man what he asks.
Whenever our faith, our attitudes and the little and great matters of our daily lives truly surrender themselves before the Lord of Life, he rises and sets to work, extending his hands and bringing us to life.
Today in his Gospel, as he makes his way to the home of the dead girl, a woman comes up behind him, and secretly touches the hem of his clothing.
This woman has been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years.
In Israel, such a condition was considered to bring with it ritual impurity.
For twelve years this poor woman was obligated by ritual law to remain mostly indoors, out of sight and especially out of contact, so that no one else would be affected by her ritual impurity.
For twelve years, then, this woman was like the living dead, an untouchable.
Her ritual seclusion or excommunication may have been what led her to approach Jesus secretly, from behind, and to secretly touch not Jesus, but only the hem of his clothing.
However, her faith touches Jesus himself.
As surely as the father of the dead girl touched Jesus directly with his daring, fiery faith, so this poor woman from the living dead touches Jesus directly— though secretly— with her faith.
As soon as her faith makes itself known directly (though secretly) to Jesus, he responds saying, “Daughter, your faith has made you well”.
The woman is instantly healed of her hemorrhage and freed from ritual impurity.
She may now return to a full life among the living.
Her healing and restored freedom are a “resurrection” of sorts.
The Lord then proceeds to the home of the dead girl.
He, the Lord of Life, now summons the girl back to the world of the living with the mere touch of his hand, with his presence and his power that have come in answer to the faith of the girl’s father.
Our own faith continues— rightfully— to ask the Lord to heal our bodies and perhaps even to bring back our dead, to spare us from loneliness, sickness, suffering and sorrow.
We may and do find it trying not to see right now in time the immediate answer to our prayers.
Nonetheless, our faith must not only ask, but also acknowledge that Jesus has already stood up and is now on the way to us.
Until he arrive, then, it is enough, that we, like the father of the girl today, cast our daily lives down, our attitudes, our motives, our desires, our sins and our good works— cast them down as we fall in worship before the Lord of Life.
Here now in his Eucharist, we have the life-giving touch of his hand, the power of his Spirit and the reality of his presence.
These already are more than enough.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







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