Homily for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday, July 1st, 2018
By: Fr. Scott Karnik
We have heard of “the way.” Jesus Christ calls Himself “The Way, the Truth, and the Life….” Today’s readings give us a view of what “the way” is and how we can participate in the way and enter the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ.
The author of the Book of Wisdom encourages us to love (practice) justice in order to develop wisdom (Fear of the Lord). Pursue God and His way. To “pursue” means “to seek” and “to engage in”; “to practice.” Pursue God with simple piety and God will come to you. “Simple” means “innocent.” “Pious” means “respect”; reverence for deity and devotion to divine worship.” The author tells us that all creation is good. God made it so. There is no room for death in God’s creation. It is the devil who created death and “death” is “life apart from God” in the author’s mind. Adam and Eve chose death. For us that is important. They chose death. They exercised a fundamental option. Death has no place on this earth apart from the human choice of evil. That is important. It is a fundamental option.
Saint Paul tells the Corinthians to “excel” in gracious acts of the faith, to include “this gracious act also.” He is encouraging the Corinthians to take up a collection for their brothers and sisters in the Christian faith in Jerusalem. The Jews there are persecuting them and they are in need. St. Paul is not saying to “open up the checkbooks.” He is saying to be generous to others. Help them by giving abundantly. St. Paul gives Jesus as the example. Jesus gives us his very self in Eucharist. He empties Himself for us. We receive Jesus Christ in Eucharist, bodily, spiritually, and with every grace that we need and with every grace that Jesus wants to give us. We benefit spiritually, plentifully, and all of us, equally. He supplies our needs like manna in the desert. Generosity is a grace that unites rich and poor, making them one. We become one in the Mystical Body of Christ by what we do and what we seek. We become one spirit, one soul, and one Church. Faith in Jesus Christ makes believers responsive to one another. That responsiveness is one way in which we enter into Christ and become brothers and sisters in the Lord. This is an actual, practical effect, via our faith, that benefits everyone. Faith removes spiritual barriers and equalizes through acts of forgiveness, love, and mercy. But this is not exclusively about whipping out our checkbooks. That is too narrow. This is about generosity and responsibility to all others. I have to insert a personal experience here. Twice, people have made a somewhat spontaneous donation to St. Anthony’s because they love coming into this church. They love the renovation. They come here to pray, attend Mass, confession, and to receive Jesus in Eucharist. They gave because they experienced Jesus Christ here in this church. In their generosity, they gave a donation in order to help insure that this church will remain here to help others experience Jesus Christ in prayer, confession, Mass, and Eucharist the same way they do. The same has happened with you. You gave generously to enable this renovation so that your children and others will pursue and seek Jesus, ‘The Way’, just as you do. Generosity generates more generosity to meet the actual and spiritual needs of all.
That brings us to the gospel. The moral of the story is, “Do not be afraid. Have faith.” The woman and the synagogue official do exactly that. Jesus will help us in following Him in the way. The woman’s faith is rewarded with health and peace. The synagogue official’s faith is rewarded by his witness of Jesus raising his daughter back to life by a spoken word and by touch. Another important point is this: the girl has died and, “Why trouble the Teacher any longer?” St. Mark wants the readers of his gospel, including you and me, to stay with Jesus, The Way, to the end: Jesus’s Passion, Crucifixion, Death, and Resurrection, followed by His Ascension into heaven and His outpouring of the Holy Spirit on this Church. Stay with Him to the end. When we experience confusion, devastation, sorrow, and tragedy, even when following Jesus The Way, Jesus tells us, “Do not be afraid; just have faith, what is needed is trust.” God can generate life out of death. Jesus tells us in this gospel that in the light of faith death is only a sleep. There is no room for death in God’s creation. Our fundamental option generates omnipotent life or sinful death.
So what must we know? We must know that Jesus is the way. We are to seek Him as the Book of Wisdom encourages us to do. To seek Jesus in our souls generates life. “Do not be afraid. Have faith.” What must we do? We must undergo the conversion necessary in our souls to enter into Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, the Resurrection, and the Life. We are asked to live that way, to the end, whatever that brings us. If we are in the Mystical Body of Christ, we live Him out by acts of love, forgiveness, generosity, mercy, piety, and worship, here, in this Church, on Sunday and daily, if possible. The Holy Spirit will guide us to be more generous with our time, talent, and treasure. God bless those who take the time to pray and to counsel in front of the abortion clinic here in Fargo. They encourage pregnant women to seek another way, which generates life, not death. That is only one example, but it’s a big one. Why should we care? We should care because only Jesus Christ saves us. Only Jesus Christ conquers death and evil. In Christ, death is only a sleep. The prayer before the scripture readings asks God to enable us to always be seen standing in the bright light of Truth.” The offertory prayer that we will hear shortly asks God that, “by the deeds by which we serve You, may we be worthy of these sacred gifts.” Those sacred gifts are Jesus Himself in the Eucharist. We receive Him. And finally, the post-communion prayer asks God that “this Divine Sacrifice we have offered and received, fill us with life, oh Lord, we pray, so that, bound to You in lasting charity, we may bear fruit that lasts forever, even beyond death, which in Jesus Christ, is only a sleep.
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