Homily: Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

Readings of the Day

“Who was that masked man?” This was a question from the early days of radio and movie serials. Folks would be in trouble and a masked man would ride up, the Lone Ranger, and help them through their difficulty. This man only sought justice: he would only shoot to disarm an opponent, not kill them, and if he ran across a criminal, he would only try to bring them in to face the Law, not deal punishment himself. He wouldn’t take anything for his help, didn’t even tell people his name, and leave behind a silver bullet. A different kind of hero, one we don’t normally see today.

Jesus was that kind of hero. There were healers and miracle workers in Jesus’ day, and they usually made a big show of their efforts since they wanted to promote their reputations and gain wealth. Jesus’ disciples were already wondering who he was last week when he calmed the waters, now an important man in town comes to him for help. On the way, he performs a healing in spite of himself, letting a woman who was an outcast, unclean, touch him. No big performance, just a quiet flow of energy that Jesus only noticed when it left. He has to ask who was healed, which was probably very unusual.

Then he gets to the house, and finds they’re already starting to mourn the little girl. They ridicule him, but he doesn’t do anything other than throw them out. His message seems incredible, he asks the father to take it on faith, and only lets a few people into the room to watch. Again, it’s no big demonstration: he just takes her hand and asks her to get up. She does, and he tells them to keep it a secret and give her something to eat (which is proof she’s well again). No big deal. Who was that man?

Jesus is willing to heal us, and not only that, he calls us to be vessels of his healing in the world today. Pope Francis indicated this in his recent encyclical, when he called all of us to be aware of how creation is wounded and how we are called to be agents of healing. He takes us by the hand, bids us rise and go about our business. He tells a woman lost in despair she is whole again, and can live at peace. Jesus can dispel our fear, our despair that anything can be done peacefully, and asks us to have faith that healing can happen.

Jesus comes to us in the Eucharist, calls us to live in his peace. He bids us rise from the things that burden us, and take up his mission in the world today. He calls us to be healers in his name. It’s an act of faith to take up this challenge, to say yes to Christ, to be a part of His plan for healing the world. There are many out there crying already: some that the cause is lost and some the cause doesn’t really exist. If we put them out of our ears and embrace Christ’s healing in faith, miracles can happen in our time.

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