Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

If I had that to do over again, then …. There have been times when that wish ran across the screens of our mind.  Sometimes maybe we would say an affirmative Yes!  But there are plenty of times when we wish we could rewrite history and make the results turn out differently.  The choices we made deeply influenced what happened: the school we went to, the profession or spouse we chose, the promises and commitments we made.  There was risk and uncertainty because we couldn’t foresee what these choices would require.  That we didn’t fully understand was breaking into new territory and part of the adventure.  We felt we were holding our lives in our hands and intentionally offering them to life.

These decisive moments illumine and reveal a deeper process in our lives and are based on a fundamental dynamism of entrusting ourselves to life and to God.  We are beings created in the imperishable image of God’s own nature.  The entrance of death and fear was not part of the original plan and intention of God.  God is not saying, If I had that to do over again I wouldn’t have opened the door to fear and suffering.  His original plan and intention are still in force.  Fear blinds our eyes and withholds our trust.  Einstein’s question was: Is the world a friendly place?  We could rephrase that as: Is the world a trustworthy place?  Must our trust and faith be restricted to select and sacred enclaves, or are we called to expand the parameters of trust beyond the verifiable and insured? Why do we imagine that God is worthy or not worthy of faith and trust?  What has our experience taught us?. 

One commentator has said that the question Mark constantly poses is, Is God reliable? Last Sunday’s Gospel described the disciples asking Jesus Do you not care? And his asking them why they are terrified and have no faith.  Next week we will hear that Jesus could not work many miracles because of the people’s lack of faith.  Yet today he tells the woman afflicted with hemorrhages that Your faith has saved you and he tells the synagogue official Do not be afraid, just have faith. If we had ears to hear, we could hear him telling us the same thing.  Your faith has saved you.

Faith brings us to this deeper level of trust in God as a reliable presence.  He is not a God-of-the-gaps, there to fill in when we run out of other options, when we spend all we have on doctors and experts.  He is a God-of-the-heart who encounters us even in those if-I-had-that-to-do-over-again moments.  Those are the moments when we take our lives in our hands, make trusting and risky decisions, and place them in the hands of God.  We realize we are healed, acting from our heart, and ready to come before the Lord.  We move from if-only, if only I but touch his clothes, from forms of death which are but sleep to rising to life.

He took the child by the hand.  He takes our life in his hands.  This is the gracious act of God which restores us to life and offers us a life formed and rooted in the very graciousness of God.  God formed man to be imperishable, the image of his own nature he made him.  Our trust and faith are the fruit of God’s openhandedness, his abundance of love which heals the deepest of our wounds.  Our faith is indeed Gods’ faith in us. Even if we are faithless, he remains faithful.

Our eucharist manifests this cosmic exchange of trust and faith.  We receive the bread we offer and through Christ the High Priest we are offered with Him to the Father who returns the gift to us as we open our hands and lives to receive the Body of Christ.  This gracious act.