Homily for June 28

Healing Touch by Craig Wiltse

Homily for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily
(Sometimes you think you hit the record button - but you didn't!)

Today we get a gospel “twofer”
– two healing stories for the price of one,
one inserted in the other.

In the first story, Jairus, the synagogue official,
doesn’t hesitate to step forward
and in front of a large crowd to plead that Jesus come to his house
to heal his daughter who is critically ill.
As that same crowd follows Jesus to Jairus’ house,
the woman suffering from hemorrhages quietly, anonymously,
comes up behind Jesus and touches his cloak,
praying softly that she be healed.

I suspect that gathered in this church right now
are many folks, like the synagogue official,
unafraid to approach Jesus to ask for some healing
and quick to invite family and friends to join in that prayer as well.

And there are others here, too, I’m sure, who desire some healing
but who aren’t sure how to ask or how to pray for it,
who aren’t sure if the Lord hears or listens to their prayers.
Like the woman in the crowd, these folks might slip into church here
hoping to get close enough to Jesus to somehow touch him
and even if they don’t know the words to pray,
to let him know they need his help.

And between those two kinds of persons there are
I-don’t-know-how-many other folks who need healing
and have their own individual ways of praying for it.

The two healings in the gospel story are physical and dramatic
and some of us might be praying for just that kind of healing.
But we often need healing in other, more subtle ways, as well.

• How many of us here today need to be healed of a hardened heart?
of anger and grudges and resentments we carry in our souls?

• How many of us need to be healed
of thoughts and desires we’re not proud of,
or actions we might be ashamed of?

• How many of us need to be healed of our bad habits -
whatever they might be?

• Are there some in need of healing of prejudice
or even hatred of others?

• How many of us need to be healed of our selfishness?  our laziness?
our recurring failure to meet our responsibilities?

• Might some need to be healed of worry and fear?
of self-pity and self-interest?  of pride and jealousy?

• Or how many of us need to be healed
of not really wanting to be healed
of some unhealthy, unhappy, even unholy things in our lives?
We know they’re there – but we want to hold on to them.

• And how many of us need to be healed of the illusion 
that we don’t really need any healing?

One thing Jairus and the woman in the crowd had in common
was that each recognized they had a problem and needed healing.
For many of us, that might be the starting point today, to recognize:
what in our lives needs healing;
what in our lives keeps us from true happiness;
what in our lives compromises our Christian integrity.

In what ways do we need
the healing light of Jesus to shine upon us;
the healing word of Jesus to refresh and restore us;
the healing touch of Jesus to make us whole -
from the inside out.

The good news in the gospel today is that Jesus responds both
to the synagogue leader who easily steps forward with his plea
and to the woman in the crowd
who seems unsure of herself and her prayer.

None other than the very same Jesus 
is with us today in this church:
in our coming together as his people,
in scriptures we just heard,
and in the Eucharist we will celebrate and receive at this altar
in just a few moments.

Since the second century,
the Church has called the Eucharist
the medicine of immortality:
the medicine that heals what is sick and broken within us
and restores us to spiritual health in God's grace.

Just as we find our healing
in the sacrifice of Jesus for us on the Cross,
so we find his healing at his table here
in the spiritually medicinal Bread and Cup of the Sacrament.

Let’s pray that God’s Spirit open each of us
to know the healing we need, to pray for it,
]and to receive it gratefully when it comes.


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