Sunday, June 27, 2021

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Talitha koum

Death is all around us. We all die.  No organism or creature in this world survives it. Many of us are realizing this more than ever with the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic.  So many people have died and continue to die.  As many regions reopen, a new and stronger Delta variant is spreading.  Death is always around the corner, so to speak.  But where did it come from? Today's readings speak of death and the One who has power over it.

In the first reading, we read that "God did not make death." He does not find pleasure in the "destruction of the living."  God made all things to have "being." They are to be complete. This all makes sense since God decided to create the universe (Genesis 1:1). Not only did He decide to take on this task, but He describes this work as 'good' (Genesis 1:31). So if God did not make death and never intended it, why is it here?  Well, the reading tells us why.  The "envy of the devil" is the cause (Hebrews 2:14). Satan envied humanity so much because we were made in God's image that He caused humanity to fall (Genesis 1:27, Genesis 3). Because of this fall, or Original Sin, we all die (Romans 5:12, 1 Corinthians 15:21, Romans 6:23). But God did not abandon us. He rescued us as we read in the Psalm for today.

"I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me" is the response today. God has always been there for us even though we are sinners. The enemies of man or Satan's legions will not rejoice over humanity because we belong to God.  God preserves us and does not want us to go "down into the pit" or hell.  The first reading tells us that God wants life, not death nor destruction. Many atheists and philosophers ask, "If God is good, why did He create hell and sends people there?" The question is based on a misunderstanding of hell and God's role. God did not create death nor hell.  Both are the consequences of the absence of life and God's grace. We send ourselves to hell. God does not "put us there."  We must live holy lives in order to avoid hell.  Today around the world, homosexuals are celebrating "pride." While parades have been canceled due to the pandemic, many celebrations will still be taking place. The homosexual celebration of pride is no smiling matter. While we should try to understand how these people suffered and the discrimination they have faced, we cannot celebrate the lifestyle.  Homosexual pride is nothing more than a manifestation of sexual sin and a celebration of it.  It mocks God and His plans for human procreation.  It mocks love and the institution of courting and marriage. No Catholic should celebrate pride or flash around six-color rainbow logos or flags. This is not an attack on homosexual people or phobia, but just a reminder that as Catholics we cannot celebrate sin.  Pride is also one of the seven capital sins.  The whole idea of celebrating homosexual sin as pride is demonic in nature. As St. Augustine wrote, "It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels."  We must not transform into servants of sin, but masters over it.  

In the second reading, St. Paul tells us that we must live as Christians. We must "excel in every respect, in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness, and in love."  This is how we convert the world (John 13:35). We must meet people where they are at as our Holy Father Pope Francis has constantly mentioned since the onset of his pontificate. Christ became poor in order to be relatable to us. He became one of us in all things except sin (Hebrews 2:17, Philippians 2:7). We must reach out to others and understand where they are at and what is causing them to sin before we can evangelize. This week has hit America hard with the legalization of so-called "same-sex marriage." However, as Christians, we must respond with truth and love, not judgment.

Finally, in the Gospel, we read of Jairus' daughter who was at the brink of death, and the woman who grabbed Jesus' garment. Jairus in desperation begs Jesus to save his daughter. While Jesus goes to Jairus' daughter there was a woman in the crowd suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years.  She spent all she had on doctors and they only made it worse.

This lady never met Jesus, but only knew of Him via the stories spreading around. Her faith was so strong that she believed that by simply touching His clothes that she would be healed.  She did exactly this and was healed.  Jesus notices that "power had gone out from Him" and He turns around and asks "who has touched my clothes?"  The disciples replied that the crowd is pressing on Him so how could they tell Him if it is obvious that everyone is touching HIs clothes.  As Jesus looked around to see who it was, the woman came forward in fear and trembling and told Him.  Jesus then tells her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”  Here we see the power of faith. In a sense, our faith in God brings out the power of God into our lives. Faith unites us to God. We must not be afraid to approach Jesus and "touch His garment," so to speak.

Furthermore, as Jesus was still speaking to the crowd, Jairus' daughter passed away.  People told Jairus the news and suggested He stop troubling the teacher (Jesus).  Jesus then responded to the official who was obviously distraught, "Do not be afraid; just have faith."  Jesus then entered the home and found the people weeping and wailing. He asks them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.”  The people mocked Him and thought He was crazy, but then he took the young girl's hand and said in Aramaic “Talitha koum" which means "Little girl, get up." This reading shows us that while God did not make death, He has power over it. Christ conquered death on the Cross and via His resurrection (Hebrews 2:14, 1 Corinthians 15:55).  Those who are part of Christ will conquer as well through Him (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Unfortunately, our time is running out. You do not need me to tell you that our world has gone bonkers. From the promotion of abortion, the celebration of gender confusion to now the legalization of so-called "same-sex marriage" in all 50 states. Satan is running out of time (Revelation 13:5). He is pulling all stops to deceive the world just as he did with Adam and Eve (Revelation 13:7). His envy and arrogance get the best of him.  We must resist him who is the father of lies (John 8:44). Like the woman with the hemorrhaging and Jairus, we must have faith in Christ.  We must trust Him even though the world is mocking us now.  God is allowing this travesty for the greater good (Proverbs 16:4, Genesis 50:20).  The mockery and persecution will increase, but we must respond with love and truth.  Our world is dying, morally speaking.  Only Christ can tell her “Talitha koum."  Let us live our faith in the world more strongly. Do not be discouraged at the distortion of the rainbow and this incessant promotion of sexual immorality and the mockery of marriage.  Keep up the good fight, have faith (1 Timothy 6:12).  May Jesus Christ be praised!

Readings: Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

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