June 28 readings

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June 28 readings

Post  VicarJoe on Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:45 am

Reading 1
Wis 1:13-15; 2:23-24

God did not make death,
nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.
For he fashioned all things that they might have being;
and the creatures of the world are wholesome,
and there is not a destructive drug among them
nor any domain of the netherworld on earth,
for justice is undying.
For God formed man to be imperishable;
the image of his own nature he made him.
But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world,
and they who belong to his company experience it.


Reading II
2 Cor 8:7, 9, 13-15

Brothers and sisters:
As you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse,
knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you,
may you excel in this gracious act also.

For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
Not that others should have relief while you are burdened,
but that as a matter of equality
your abundance at the present time should supply their needs,
so that their abundance may also supply your needs,
that there may be equality.
As it is written:
Whoever had much did not have more,
and whoever had little did not have less.

Gospel
Mk 5:21-43 or 5:21-24, 35b-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat
to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
"My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live."
He went off with him,
and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors
and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak.
She said, "If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured."
Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,
turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who has touched my clothes?"
But his disciples said to Jesus,
"You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,
and yet you ask, 'Who touched me?'"
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her,
approached in fear and trembling.
She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction."

While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official's house arrived and said,
"Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?"
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
"Do not be afraid; just have faith."
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
"Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep."
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child's father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum,"
which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise!"
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.
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The three things that stand out to me

Post  VicarJoe on Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:06 am

1) The reading from Wisdom says God wills us to have life, not to die, so when Jesus brings life to the dead daughter of Jairus, that's a nice illustration of God's will. It's interesting to me, too, that the girl is dead and she is raised from the dead NOT because of her faith but because of the faith of her father. That is, she shares in eternal life (perhaps, but at the very least human life) not through her own will or response, but because of her loving parents' will/response to Jesus. That's rather interesting.

2) I had just yesterday read the account of the woman who touched Jesus' cloak and was healed, as it appeared in a conversion story in the book Surprised by Truth (a highly recommended series of books go by that title). The point of the story being related in the conversion account was to emphasize the sacramentality of the encounter with Jesus. That is, in touching a physical object--the hem of his garment--the woman is infused with spiritual power. The physical object carries within itself divine power. Another marker of the Incarnation--objects themselves are transformed into more than mere objects.

3) I find the reading from Paul the most challenging. I appreciate its call for equality, for a kind of letting go of material prosperity so that others may be raised up and made equal. For one, I think it's very difficult for us to gauge how much is enough and what is, in fact, superfluous. For example, if I spend several thousand dollars a year on Catholic school tuition, is that an extravagance or a necessity? What about having cable television? Or magazine subscriptions? Or used books? Or a retirement account? Where does extravagance begin? Also difficult is in knowing what community this exhortation refers to: is it to the local church community? The local community including but not limited to the church? The national community? The global community? It seems to me that in the context of the letter, it is the local church at Corinth that is being exhorted to render the church community itself more equal. Yet I feel this nagging sense that Christians tend to read into this an exhortation to make not the church community but the city or the nation or the world, regardless of church affiliation, more equal. There are practical repercussions to how one interprets this passage: in some contexts, I might be considered poor or otherwise average; in others, I'd be one of the rich ones required to give more to create more equality. And again, how do I know what level of giving is right? Are we required to eke out a life of bare subsistence? Too, does the passage not imply a mutual responsibility? "Your abundance at the present time should supply their needs,
so that their abundance may also supply your needs." That is, it seems to be a matter of me helping someone who has temporarily fallen on hard times with the recognition that he will help me when I fall on hard times. That seems a bit different than a situation where, say, some people live permanently by the assistance of others who never need nor ask for assistance.

Like I said, the passage is tricky for me.
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As it turned out...

Post  VicarJoe on Sun Jun 28, 2009 9:49 am

today's homily on these readings was on the topic of envy. Not the most obvious choice. silent
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