Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24 God is the author of life, not death, and destruction is not of God's design.
Today's readings speak of the mystery of suffering and death in the lives of all people. It is made clear that God made us for life and for health and that whatever the meaning of the existence of suffering and death in this world, we must continue to trust that God only has our good in mind.
God does not desire that there be suffering, illness and pain in the world. God designed us for life, and life to the full and for health and strength. God is present in our midst, offering comfort and strength and God is at work amongst us offering us healing (of one form or another) in times of illness, difficulty and pain.
God is at work constantly bringing about life from adversity and renewing his covenant with us.
We cannot fully explain why God does not remove all illness, suffering and pain from this world, except to be certain that God's compassion and love and care, revealed in Jesus, show where God can be found in the midst of this suffering. For reasons that are not often clear to us with our limited human vision and perspective, this is the best of all possible worlds that God could have designed; though we do not know why God could not have made a world that did that excludes all misery, pain, suffering and death. But we are invited to trust in God's goodness and that God only wants our good and not our ill.
We are invited to trust that God is always with us and that Jesus shows us God who is suffering along with all those who labour and are heavily burdened and how God is working to lift their burdens in this life and give them fullness of life in the next.
The faith and the trust of the two people in the Gospel this weekend, (namely Jairus and also the nameless women who touches Our Lord's garment as he passes by), fill us with hope too. Jesus' compassion towards them shows us God's deep and abiding compassion towards all people too. God cares deeply and eternally about all people, especially those suffering and in pain. God is eternally faithful to them and keeps them in God's care and love. God will never forget us or abandon us.
This gospel also tells us the difference between "incidental" actions and "purposeful" actions. We do many different things in any given day, some are unthinking and mechanical, some are well-thought out and purposeful. The disciples were utterly astounded in the gospel this weekend when Jesus, surrounded by jostling crowds, stopped and asked "who touched me?" The disciples rightly pointed out that a lot of people were touching him, because he was in the middle of a pushing crowd. Whatever did Jesus mean??? But Jesus could tell the difference between the ordinary incidental touching that occurred in a surging crowd and the faith-filled and deliberate action of a woman who trusted in God and in his ability to make a difference in her life. That woman's actions were deliberate, purpose-filled and faith-filled and this is what Jesus commended. Whatever we do in life, whenever we pray and think about what we should be doing and then set about purposefully doing what we believe is right and good and according to God's plans, then we too are commended and encouraged by our Lord in our faith-filled decisions and choices.
This weekend’s Gospel is wonderful. I love that part where the lady quietly touches Jesus clothes in the trust that Jesus had the power to save her. Jesus reaction is amazing. He IMMEDIATELY knew that power had gone out from him. He asks a question that stumps the disciples: "Who has touched my clothes?" But his disciples said to Jesus, "You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ';Who touched me?'" The reaction of the disciples is understandable: "What is he talking about, everyone is touching his clothes, there is a crowd pressing in on him from every side, but still he asks, ‘who touched me.’???
But Jesus knew exactly what he was asking. He KNEW that all manner of people were touching him, but he knew even more that only one person had touched him with the purposefulness and clarity of faith and trust in WHO he is and WHAT he could do, and the SIGNIFICANCE of his mission. Jesus stopped because he sensed that this wonderful lady who had suffered so long had dared to break cultural taboos and risk ignoring the rules of the religious law because she believed that Jesus had the power to save her. She was right and Jesus praised her for her faith.
We too trust and believe in Hope that Jesus has the power to save us, to heal us and to forgive us, and to give us the eternal life that he has promised us.
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