13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 1, 2012)

Jesus’ words to the synagogue official resonate throughout Sunday’s Mass readings: “Do not be afraid … just have faith.” In this day and age, given what’s going on in the world around us and in our Church, those are words we need to hear.

Do not be afraid because, in the words of the First Reading, God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. He fashioned all things that they might have being … God formed man to be imperishable; the image of His own nature He made him. All God wants is for us to have life to the fullest … a life not just of human riches and blessings, but a deep sharing in the Divine life of God.

Do not be afraid, says Paul in the Second Reading. He’s asking the Corinthians to share from their surplus so that the Church in Jerusalem can have some needed financial aid. Note that he’s not asking them to impoverish themselves. He simply asks that they share from the surplus. Then he goes on to say: “Whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less.”

Do not be afraid, because as the psalmist prays, God has brought us up from the netherworld. He changes our mourning into dancing, and not only that, but His goodwill lasts a lifetime.

Do not be afraid, Jesus said to the bleeding woman. She was not even supposed to be part of the crowd, for Jewish law mandated that any loss of blood, no matter what the cause, made a woman unclean. It took an enormous amount of courage to do what she did, for had she been caught, the penalty was death. “Your faith has saved you,” said Jesus.

Do not be afraid, Jesus said to the grieving parents. Just have faith. And so their daughter was made well. She received the gift of life. That of course, begs the question: Why this gal and not so many others throughout history whose parents have prayed for their son or daughter to be cured, to seemingly no avail? I can’t answer that. All I know is that no prayer ever goes to waste.

In Jesus we see the infinite love of God extending to each and every individual as He gives freely and wholly of Himself to each person he meets. Do you approach the Lord with confident expectation that He will hear your request and act?

Be God’s smile for someone today!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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