Sunday, July 1, 2012


Wisdom 1; 13 - 15

13 For God did not make Death,
he takes no pleasure in destroying the living.
14 To exist -- for this he created all things;
the creatures of the world have health
in them, in them is no fatal poison, and
Hades has no power over the world:
15 for uprightness is immortal.

Psalm 30; 1 - 3

 1. I praise you to the heights, Yahweh,
for you have raised me up, you have not
let my foes make merry over me.
2 Yahweh, my God, I cried to you for help
and you healed me.  3 Yahweh, you have 
lifted me out of Sheol, from among those 
who sink into oblivion you have given me life.


2 Corinthians 8; 15
15 as scripture says: No one who had collected 
more had too much, no one who collected 
less had too little.  [Exodus; 16 - 18]

Mark 5; 21 - 43
21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered round him and he stayed by the lake.
22 Then the president of the synagogue came up, named Jairus, and seeing him, fell at his feet
23 and begged him earnestly, saying, 'My little daughter is desperately sick. Do come and lay your hands on her that she may be saved and may live.'
24 Jesus went with him and a large crowd followed him; they were pressing all round him.
25 Now there was a woman who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years;
26 after long and painful treatment under various doctors, she had spent all she had without being any the better for it; in fact, she was getting worse.
27 She had heard about Jesus, and she came up through the crowd and touched his cloak from behind, thinking,
28 'If I can just touch his clothes, I shall be saved.'
29 And at once the source of the bleeding dried up, and she felt in herself that she was cured of her complaint.
30 And at once aware of the power that had gone out from him, Jesus turned round in the crowd and said, 'Who touched my clothes?'
31 His disciples said to him, 'You see how the crowd is pressing round you; how can you ask, "Who touched me?" '
32 But he continued to look all round to see who had done it.
33 Then the woman came forward, frightened and trembling because she knew what had happened to her, and she fell at his feet and told him the whole truth.
34 'My daughter,' he said, 'your faith has restored you to health; go in peace and be free of your complaint.'
35 While he was still speaking some people arrived from the house of the president of the synagogue to say, 'Your daughter is dead; why put the Master to any further trouble?'
36 But Jesus overheard what they said and he said to the president of the synagogue, 'Do not be afraid; only have faith.'
37 And he allowed no one to go with him except Peter and James and John the brother of James.
38 So they came to the house of the president of the synagogue, and Jesus noticed all the commotion, with people weeping and wailing unrestrainedly.
39 He went in and said to them, 'Why all this commotion and crying? The child is not dead, but asleep.'
40 But they ridiculed him. So he turned them all out and, taking with him the child's father and mother and his own companions, he went into the place where the child lay.
41 And taking the child by the hand he said to her, 'Talitha kum!' which means, 'Little girl, I tell you to get up.'
42 The little girl got up at once and began to walk about, for she was twelve years old. At once they were overcome with astonishment,
43 and he gave them strict orders not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat.

The homily this morning [July 1, 2012] at St.Christopher Church in Moreno Valley, California, based on the meaning of these excerpts from Sacred Scripture was a very powerful, if subtle tour-de-force.  It was a cry for life as is seldom heard in our often pastel-shaded exposees of the call to discipleship.  After the Mass I was moved to take a poll and asked around what people thought of the wonderful anti-abortion "sermon" that they had just heard.  Sadly, of the five or six to whom I posed the question, only two got the point.  Maybe it is because the preacher never once mentioned the politically charged phrase "Pro-Life."
The preacher, Reverend Father Joven Junio, M.S. [He goes by Fr. Jo-Jo] was very explicit in his opening statement that the meaningful thread of the Bible teaching of the universal community of the Catholic Church for this Sunday is the respect for life.  Life, the great gift from God.  Life, physical, mental, moral, spiritual, earthly, heavenly, human, angelic, LIFE!
From the first line taken from the book of Wisdom [Revered and appreciated by Orthodox and Catholics] to the last line presented from the Gospel of Mark, the teaching is about sharing the gift of life.  Paul in 2 Corinthians reminds us that there is plenty of this gift to go around.  We don't have to hoard it.  We are called to share it.  
Fr. Jo-Jo made the point that it is not ours to give nor to take, it is ours to share, to nurture, to nurse, to cultivate.  In the Psalm David reminds us that is it God the giver, the Gifter of life, the only One. It is  for us, His creatures to enjoy it so that in the enjoyment of it we will have a foretaste of the Heavenly Life that He has prepared for us.  We are called to support one another in this spiritual pursuit.  We are called to share what we have for the mutual benefit of all.  This is our call as creatures, and especially, of course, as Catholic Creatures.  
It is clear from the two stories taken from the Gospel of Mark that our call to imitate Jesus in our lives is also a call to heal and bring all our God - given personal physical, mental, emotional and spiritual forces to the sustaining of life.  
Sharing our moral and spiritual strength is also life nurturing and is something that we are called to do also.  Imagine the plight of the woman suffering from hemorrhaging for 12 years?  Imagine the mental anguish of having to consider yourself ritually impure for all the time?  Imagine bankrupting yourself in an effort to overcome the opprobrium of your condition?  Imagine the courage it must have taken for her to actually break the religious code and show herself in public?  No wonder she had to choose a day when there was a crowd.  She needed all the anonymity that she could get.  Notice that, unlike so many others about whom we hear, she was unaccompanied?  Mark lets us have an insight into the divinity of Jesus when he tells us that Jesus knew that someone had touched him.  He, the Purest of the pure, had been touched by ritual impurity.  He, by His question let the woman know that He knew who she was and why she was there.  It reminds us of God's question to Adam, "Where are you?"  That's why she had to surrender.  He had already shown His love for her.  She had been cleansed.  Only He and she, knew that He knew.  Not only her health had been reborn, her reputation had been preserved.  She knew that she had been made new when He called her, "Daughter."

Much to his credit, Father Jo-Jo also made the point that it is not only the poor or the downtrodden or the struggling who need a part of our lives.  The life of the well-placed, well-to-do creatures of this world must also be respected.  Jairus, the President of the Capharnaum Synagogue inserted himself into the fray to get some time before Jesus.  This public official swallowed his pride and in front of the "commoners" of the time pleaded for the life of his 12 year old daughter.  We will perhaps never know if this was a test of the universal truth and honesty of the mission of Jesus.  Jesus did not, not this time, not ever, back away from helping the poor or the well-to-do.  He answered the faith-filled call of Jairus positively by returning his beloved daughter to life, thereby supporting the faith of the Synagogue official and bolstering the faith the the onlookers.
In the name of honesty and fairness, I did not consult Fr.Jo-Jo before doing this to him.  I will send him a cover email in the spirit of the axiom, "It's easier to beg pardon that to ask permission."  Furthermore,
much that is here is a paraphrase, not a quotation.  I assure you all, this is true to what was said and how it was said.
This is the best anti-abortion church teaching that I have ever heard.

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