Keep the Faith

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home Depositphotos_14869839_m-2015.jpg

July 1, 2018 –13th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Mark 5:21-43

Everyone experiences times of difficulty, even desperation. Relationships might be weakened, unpaid bills can come due, unexplainable pains might afflict our bodies. We all have stories of when we were pushed to the edge. Our strength and resources are simply not enough to deal with what’s afflicting us. It may be something physical. It could be a relational problem with a spouse, a close friend or one of our children. It can be almost anything that causes us to cry out, “I cannot do this!” At that moment we feel that we lack the strength and stamina to deal with what’s facing us.

A while back I heard about one of those moments. Most of us try to keep an on-going accurate account of personal financial reserves. Then comes the moment of trial, the moment of truth when we receive a notice that our bank account has reached zero – of even worse – a minus number. Our heart skips a beat and our throat is suddenly dry. We stare into space while wondering how we (and our family) will survive this unexpected situation. Money, after all, is closely connected with power. If we are suddenly in “red ink,” well, we wonder about survival. Not only for us personally, but others with who may be dependent on us.

This feeling of desperation is evidenced in today’s gospel. A father is deeply worried about the survival of his daughter. A woman is afflicted with a condition that, while she has sought medical help, continues to persist. She is being drained of her life blood and her financial resources. Both the father and the woman are desperate.

Both seek the help of Jesus. Both are surprised not only by what he does but how he helps them. The woman merely “touches his clothing” and she is restored to health. The father’s daughter is brought back to life not immediately but later on. Jesus seems to have his own time table for helping the desperate family.

So, what’s the message for us? First, seek help from Jesus. God is always on our side. Second, be patient. Help can be given to us but not always in the way we expect. Sometimes it takes time. Sometimes it comes in surprising ways. This is partly what it means “to keep the faith.”

©David M. Thomas, PhD