Homily Thirteenth Sunday Year B Faith in Jesus

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Homily Thirteenth Sunday Year B
Reading 1: God did not make death. He created life. He created us in his own image and likeness to live forever. When he breathed life into man and woman he gave us of his spirit. Our soul is immortal.  God did not only want us to be immortal but to one with him. He shared his own divine life with us so that we may live with him forever in glory.

All that God created was and is good. So how does death enter into our journey? We read in the reading: “But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world.” Death comes from sin. The death that the writer is reflecting on is not physical death but spiritual death. Because of sin we have become separated from God. But the will of God is that we be one again with him. So he sent his Son as Savior of the world. Through his death and resurrection he has destroyed the death that separates us from God. This is called the second death.  Those who die alienated from God through sin are of the devil’s company. Therefore they will experience after physical death this permanent second death.

But those who embrace the life of Jesus and die in him will pass from physical death into eternal union with God.  For this reason Paul says: “Death where is your sting? Where is your victory?” He knew the gift of life given to him and us through faith in Jesus Christ.

Reading 2: Because we are disciples of Jesus and are empowered and led through the anointing of the Holy Spirit, we are called to see things differently. All belongs to God. We are stewards of the gifts God has blessed us with. As a result, Paul says, one who is filled with the Spirit is to be a generous person. We are rich in Christ whether we have much or little.

Trusting in the word of God that he loves a generous giver, the disciple seeks what God wants him/her to do, when an opportunity to financially help another happens. The person doesn’t give beyond one’s means, but in gratitude to God for what has been given him/her.

What is the background of Paul’s admonition to the community in Corinth? The faith community in Jerusalem is undergoing persecution and economic struggles. Paul is asking the Gentile communities, including Corinth, to take up a collection to help them, not out of obligation but out of gratitude to God for their blessings. . As Paul says: “Your abundance at the present time should supply their needs.”

Gospel: Jesus said: “I have come that you may have life, life to the fullest.” Extended illness is debilitating to life to the fullest. Physical life ends physical life. Jesus restores both the woman with this particular illness and the young girl to a more satisfying experience of physical life in anticipation of the fullness of life he desires for us.
Both Jairus and the woman saw Jesus as one who is empowered by God to heal the sick. Initially, Jairus did not see Jesus as one who could restore physical life after death occurs. In both instances, what was needed? The woman believed that Jesus could heal her, if she merely touched his robe. But her healing is not just for her. Jesus calls her to publicly attest to the power of God restoring her to a fuller experience of life for the sake of Jairus.

When Jairus is told that his daughter has died and it was no longer necessary for Jesus to do anything, Jesus challenges Jairus to believe and trust in God’s plan. Jesus goes with the official, whose level of faith is being tested. Jesus raises his daughter to physical life from physical death. For he is the Lord of life.

Both the physical healing and the physical restoration to physical life point to the greater mystery of life with God forever in glory. Both are presented to draw us to the person who is the source of life. The greater miracle and sign of God’s love is our eternal salvation and eternal union with God in the fullness of eternal life.

Physical death is not the end of life. Without faith in God, it will seemed to be.  But our relationship with God and our faith in his promises reminds us that he is the Resurrection and the Life. We know that we will physically die but we believe if we die in Christ, we will live with him forever.

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