Saturday, November 15, 2014

23rd Sunday after Pentecost, 16th November 2014


23rd Sunday After Pentecost

16 November 2014

 

“Take courage, daughter; thy faith has saved thee.”  Mt. 9:22

Today’s readings remind us of the power of  Jesus Christ who, as a divine person, can do all things.  Because Jesus Christ is the Son of God, we owe Him all of our gratitude and thanks which we show when we worship and adore Him.  Who else in this world can help us in our desperate situations.  We see this in today’s Gospel (Mt. (9:18-26)  where Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue, comes to Jesus because his twelve-year old daughter is dead.  We also see this in the woman who has had a hemorrhage for twelve years and has not been able to have it cured though she has exhausted her fortune with doctors.  Both of these people come to Jesus because He is their only hope. St. Paul tells the Philippians in today’s  Epistle (Phil. 3:17-21, 4: 1-3) that Jesus is Saviour who “is able also  to subject all things to himself.” Phil 3:21   On another spiritual level, today’s readings remind us of the approach of  Jesus at Christmas and His final coming at the end of the world.   Dom Prosper Gueranger in his  book The Liturgical Life, Vol. 11 comments on the former Epistle from this Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost which was from the prophet Jeremias: “‘Behold! The days come, saith the Lord, and I will raise up to David a just branch: and a King shall reign, and shall be wise: and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In those days, shall Juda be saved, and Israel shall dwell confidently: and this is the name that they shall call Him: The Lord the Just One. Therefore, behold the days come, saith the Lord, they shall say no more: The Lord liveth, who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt! But: The Lord liveth, who hath brought out, and brought hither, the seed of the house of Israel, from the land of the north, and out of all the lands, to which I had cast them forth!  And they shall dwell in their own land.’ Jer. 23:5-8…As is evident, this passage is equally applicable to the conversion of the Jews and the restoration of Israel, which are to take place at the end of the world.”  Gueranger, p. 469.

 

Dom Gueranger quotes the Abbot Rupert on the conversion of the  Jews at the end of the world and how it is seen in today’s liturgy:  “‘Holy Church is so intent on paying her debt of supplication, and prayer, and thanksgiving, for all men, as the apostle demands (cf. I Tim.2:1) that we find her giving thanks also for the salvation of the children of Israel, who, she knows,  are one day to be united to her. And their remnants are to be saved at the end of the world, so on this last Sunday of the year, she delights in them, as though they were already her members.  In the Introit, calling to mind the prophecies concerning them, she thus sings every year: ‘My thoughts are thoughts of peace, and not affliction.’ Verily, His thoughts are those of peace, for He promises to admit to the banquet of His grace the Jews, who are His brethren according to the flesh, thus recalling what had been prefigured in the history of the patriarch Joseph. The brethren of Joseph, having sold him, came to him when they were tormented by hunger; for then he ruled over the whole of Egypt. He recognized them; he received them; and made together with them a great feast. So, too, our Lord, who is now reigning over the whole earth, and is giving the bread of life, in abundance, to the Egyptians (that is, the Gentiles), will see coming to Him the remnants of the children of Israel. He, whom they had denied and put to death, will admit them to His favour, will give them a place at His table, and the true Joseph will feast delightedly with His brethren…  Thus delivered from the spiritual bondage which still holds them, they will sing with all their heart the words of thanksgiving as we have them in the Gradual: ‘Thou hast saved me, O Lord, from them that afflict me!’…. ‘From the depths (Offertory) I have cried to thee, O Lord,’ clearly allude to the same events for, on that day, His brethren will say to the great and true Joseph: ‘We beseech thee to forget the wickedness of thy brethren!’ Gen. 1:17  The Communion: ‘Amen, I say to you, all things whatsoever ye ask, when ye pray, ‘ etc., is the answer made by the same Joseph as it was by the first (Gen. 19:21): ‘Ye thought evil against me: but God turned it into good, that He might exalt me, as at present ye see, and might save many people. Fear not, therefore, I will feed you, and your children.’ (Rupert, De Div. Off. 12:23) Gueranger. p. 470-1

 

 “Take courage, daughter; thy faith has saved thee.”  Mt. 9:22

 In today’s gospel, Jesus shows the importance of faith for all those who follow him.  This woman has had a hemorrhage for twelve years and no one can help her.  She believes in the power of Jesus and that all she needs to do is touch the tassel of his cloak and she will be cured: “If I touched but  the tassel of his cloak  I shall be saved.” Mt. 9:21.  Jesus knows her intentions and commends her great faith:    When she does this,  Jesus says to her:  “Take courage, daughter; thy faith has saved thee.”  Mt. 9:22   Jesus shows his divine power by knowing her thoughts and curing her of her sickness. St. John Chrysostom tells us that Jesus could not let the woman go unobserved: “First, He relieves the woman’s fear, that she should not be pricked in her conscience though she had stolen this boon; secondly, He corrects her error in supposing she could be hid from Him; thirdly, He displays her faith for all for their imitation; and fourthly, He did a miracle, in that He showed He knew all things, no less than in drying the fountain of her blood.

 

 

My daughter has just now died; but come and lay thy hands upon her, and she will return to life.” Mt. 9:18

St. Matthew tells us that the ruler of the synagogue believed that Jesus could restore life to his daughter.  When he sees Jesus, he worships him.  St. Mark and St. Luke in their account of the miracle tell us that his name is Jairus and he prostrated himself  before Jesus.  Both St. Mark and St. Luke also tell us that Jairus’ daughter was dying when he first approached Jesus.  This, at first may seem like a discrepancy with the accounts by St. Mark and St. Luke who said that his servants had told him that it was not necessary for Jesus to come: “Thy daughter is dead.  Why dost thou trouble the master further?” Mk. 5:35.  Either way, Jairus believes Jesus can raise her from the dead as he accompanies Jesus, as St. Mark tells us,  when Jesus said: “Do not be afraid, only have faith.” Mk.5:36  When Jesus arrives at the house, the mourners and flute players are already there and laughed him to scorn, when He said, “Give place, for the girl is not dead, but sleepeth.” Mt. 9: 24.  Then, when the crowd had been put out, he took the child by the hand and said:  “’Talitha cumi,’ which is interpreted, ‘Girl, I say to thee arise.’” Mk. 5:41  St. Mark tells us that the people were “utterly amazed.” Mk. 5:42   St. Luke tells us her parents “were amazed.” Lk. 8: 56  By this miracle, Jesus proves that He is God as He is the author of life and death.  He also shows that death is a state similar to sleep; as we awake after sleep, so Jesus teaches us that we will awake after death.

 

The Final Conversion of the  Jews

 

Dom Gueranger shows how today’s gospel uses the spiritual sense of allegory with the conversion of the Gentiles and Jews by Jesus who came to save all nations.   “St. Jerome tells us, in the homily selected for the day, that the hemorrhoissa, healed by our Lord, is a type of the Gentile world; whilst the Jewish people is represented by the daughter of the ruler of the Synagogue.  This latter is not to be restored to life until the former has been cured; and this is precisely the mystery we are so continually commemorating during these closing weeks of the liturgical year, viz, the fullness of the Gentiles recognizing and welcoming the divine Physician, and the blindness of Israel at last giving way to light (cf. Rom. 11:26). …Israel, therefore, was not made to wait.  One of the Psalms  he sang ran thus: ‘Ethiopia shall be the first to stretch out her hands to God.’  Ps. 67:32  It is now the turn for Israel to recover, by the pangs of a long abandonment, the humility which had won the divine promises for his fathers, the humility which alone could merit his seeing those promises fulfilled. 

“By this time however, the word of salvation has made itself heard throughout all the nations, healing and saving all who desired the blessing. Jesus, who has been delayed on the road, comes at last to the house towards which He first purposed to direct His sacred steps;  He reaches, at last, the house of Juda, where the daughter of Sion is in a very deep sleep. His almighty compassion drive away from the poor abandoned one the crowd of false teachers and lying prophets, who had sent her into that mortal sleep, by all the noise of their vain babbling: He casts forth for ever from  her house  those insulters of Himself, who are quite resolved to keep the dead one dead.  Taking the poor daughter of Sion by the hand, He restores her to life, and to all the charm of her first youth; proving thus, that her apparent death had been but a sleep, and that the long delay of dreary ages could never belie the word of God, which had been given to Abraham, His servant. (cf. Lk.1:54-55)

“Now therefore, let this world hold itself in readiness for its final transformation; for the tidings of the restoration of the daughter of Sion puts the last seal to the accomplishment of the prophecies. It remains now but for the graves to give back their dead (cf. Dan. 12:1-2)  The valley of Josaphat is preparing for the great meeting of the nations (cf. Joel 3:2);  Mount Olivet is once more to have Jesus standing upon it (cf. Acts 1:11), but this time as Lord and Judge.”  Gueranger, p. 478-80

 

“But our citizenship is in heaven from which also we eagerly await a Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ,” Phil. 3:21

St. Paul reminds us to live for eternal life and not to be corrupted by this world’s pleasures.  He tells the Philippians that many are enemies of the cross of Christ:  For many walk, of whom I have told you often and now tell you weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their end is ruin, their god is their belly, their glory is in their shame, they mind the things of earth.” Phil. 3: 18-19 Here St. Paul is reminding his followers that they will forfeit the joys of heaven if they do not carry their crosses. 21   Fr. Gabriel in his book of meditations on the liturgy, Divine Intimacy, comments on the absolute need to carry our crosses to gain eternal life: “Every time that we shun a sacrifice, that we protest against suffering, that we seek selfish pleasures, we behave, in practice, like enemies of the Cross of Christ.  Thus our lives become too earthly, too much attached to creatures, too heavily burdened to rise toward heaven. We must be converted, we must practice detachment,  and remember that “our citizenship is in heaven.” Fr. Gabriel, p. 1056.  Only those who follow Christ will have the joys of being transformed into glory after death:  “But our citizenship is in heaven from which also we eagerly await a Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, who will refashion the body of our lowliness, conforming it to the body of his glory by exerting the power  by which he is able also to subject all things to himself.” Phil. 3:20-21  

 

Transformed into Christ

Spiritual writers often speak of souls transformed into Christ.  How does this happen?  We can see from today’s miracles how the souls for whom Jesus performed these miracles will never be the same again. Jesus changed their lives forever.   Certainly, we can expect that Jairus and his daughter will become believers in Christ and be transformed into Christ. The woman who was cured of her hemorrhage and was praised for her faith will also be transformed into Christ.  Eusebius tells us that her name was  Veronica and that  she is the same Veronica who wiped the face of Jesus on His Way of the Cross and had Jesus’ image impressed on the cloth. St. Paul reminds us of the transforming power of  Christ in heaven: “who will refashion the body of our lowliness, conforming it to the body of his glory by exerting the power  by which he is able also to subject all things to himself.” Phil. 3:21.  Let us live for heaven and, as St. Pio tells us “...Let us always think of heaven.”

 

Souls in Purgatory:  November in the month in which we remember the poor souls in Purgatory who cannot help themselves.   They rely on us to shorten their time of purification.

 

All-Souls Lists:  Please put the names of those who have died on the All-Souls list, and we will include them in our Masses during the month of November .