Wisdom 1:13-15,2:23-24; psalm 30 I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me; 2 Corinthians 8:7,9,13-15; mark 5:21-43
Just a few thoughts for this Sunday.
The first reading has this to offer for us in our meditation on the Christian life, and its living it as well: 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...but by envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it...the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God and no torment shall touch them..."
It is good to meditate on death. In fact, st Francis often called death his sister. It wasn't something to fend off or be frighten of but rather embrace. Death without Christ was insurmountable; it would be depressing which would lead to despair but with Christ it changes. It becomes an avenue by which something more awaits, a fulfillment of this earthly existence is finally embraced.
Pope Benedict would say that preparing for death is a Christian art, because preparing for one's death means preparing to meet God.
I have a dear friend who I respect greatly. He has just reached his 80th birthday, a true milestone. He tells me when I see him that his window is closing, it is getting smaller. He is referring to his earthly existence.
I remind him that the window isn't getting smaller but rather bigger, in fact it is opening up so wide that before it's immense size and stature, he is getting smaller. But isn't that what Jesus refers to when he says unless we camels can pass though the eye of the needle.
In the Holy Land there is a church dedicated to the dormition of the blessed mother. The teaching of the dormition of Mary is simply that when the course of her earthly life ended she simply went to sleep, so that she might be awakened to glory by the grace of God. This is the change that occurs in death for us who believe.
Death is not an end. Rather it opens wide to the fullness of life.
We need to rethink how we see death and relate to it otherwise Jesus came for nothing.
Secondly, we are told that by the envy of the devil, death entered the world. Envy is that reality that seeks to destroy the goodness of the other. The devil wanted to destroy the friendship humanity had with God. We see that in our own lives. How often we find envy becoming our motivation when we talk about others or refuse to accept their state in life or their success or whatever.
What is the remedy for envy? It is simply this: to rejoice in the goodness of the other. When we recognize the goodness of the other habitually we then prepare our hearts and minds to rejoice in the goodness God has put in our life. As the wisdom tells us clearly, nor does God rejoice in the destruction of the living. Rejoice in the goodness of the other is a good way to prepare to meet God who rejoices in our goodness so much so that he offers his son for us.
Lastly, as we see Jesus cure the the woman with sickness and then raise the little girl we are reminded that physical healthy as good as it is, remains only a relative good, not the ultimate good.
For all of us, who die in faith, will awake to find our hand in his and we shall hear his voice, "arise."
Now for the second reading, St. Paul says these words, " but as a matter of equality your 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."
Life is a pilgrimage!! It is not just about getting somewhere quickly, though it is that. But as a pilgrimage it is also about who stops along the way to help us and who needs our help as well on every turn and every stretch of the mile.
salvation is in some sense our response to those who God has put in our lives on this road back to him.
We must accept that we do not control who is on the journey with us; God's providence has some say. Thus, the people we meet are God's gift to us and they are there to mold us and to mold our response to life.
Thus, as we respond to the gift of each person as we encounter them, as we learn to rejoice in their goodness and in our own, we truly prepare to enter fully into life.