We have faith in the power of Jesus to heal us and pick us up

Homily for the Thirteenth Sunday of Year B

by Fr. Tommy Lane

As we journey though life there are ups and downs. When we are knocked down we need a pick-me-up, or as the Italians might say, a “tira-mi-su.” No matter what way you are knocked down, Jesus is there to pick you up. Especially when we are ill we need Jesus to pick us up and that is why a large part of the Church’s ministry is in healthcare and looking after those who are ill. We are also aware of those who have received miraculous physical healings at shrines like Lourdes and Knock. They remind us that Jesus wishes to heal us today just as he did in Palestine 2000 years ago. Through the Church Jesus continues to heal, taking the those who are ill by the hand and saying, “Talitha kum”, “...I tell you to get up.” (Mark 5:41) Let us have faith in the healing power of Jesus and allow Jesus to take us by the hand when we need and help us up. Let us have faith in the power of Jesus to reverse bad situations.

In the past the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick was given when somebody was dying and was called the Last Rites. Now anyone who is seriously ill can request to receive the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick once a month. It is a beautiful sacrament for healing. It is a sacrament for the sick. I have seen many people dramatically improve within hours after being anointed. I remember one woman in particular whom I anointed in another parish improved so quickly after being anointed that before I left the house she said it was like the resurrection. Every case is not as dramatic as that but these instances remind us of the power of the sacrament to heal. When people are anointed Jesus takes them by the hand as he took Jairus’ daughter by the hand and says to them, “Talitha kum”, “Little girl, I tell you to get up.” (Mark 5:41) Let us strengthen our faith in the power of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick to heal. Jesus is waiting in the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick to pick us up after we have been knocked down by sickness.

It is not only sickness that can knock us down. We can be knocked down emotionally and psychologically. We can be knocked down by the hurts others inflict on us and by what they say or do to us. It is not always true to say that “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.” Names, words, attitudes also hurt. On those occasions we also need a pick-me-up and on those occasions Jesus is also there to pick us up.

To begin the healing of these types of knocks I would like to recall for you the motto chosen by the Catholic Church for the Jubilee 2000, “Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) No matter when you were hurt, remembering that today, yesterday and tomorrow are the same for Jesus, ask him to walk back in time with you to the day when you suffered a particular hurt or received the news of your illness. Close your eyes now and imagine Jesus by your side or in front of you…Make your way through the crowd to Jesus like the bleeding woman…In your imagination touch Jesus’ cloak wishing for his healing…(Mark 5:27-28) Feel the love of Jesus healing you….Hear Jesus say to you, “Your faith has restored you to health…”….(Mark 5:34) Or in your imagination see Jesus take you by the hand as he took Jairus’ daughter by hand and let Jesus help you up, “I tell you to get up”….(Mark 5:41) Jesus said about the girl, “She is not dead, only asleep.” (Mark 5:39) Hear Jesus say to you, “Your wound is not permanent, it is only temporary, I am healing you”…Let Jesus comfort you after the hurt you received….Let the love of Jesus replace all the damage and hurt and woundedness….Just as the Good Samaritan poured oil and wine on the wounds of the injured man on the road to Jericho (Luke 10:34), let Jesus pour his love on your wounds and replace your wounds with his love…Touch Jesus’ garments and let your bleeding, your suffering, dry up…Hear Jesus say to you, “You are not dead, only asleep. Get up”….Tell Jesus about your pain and hurt….Feel the love of Jesus replacing your wounds with his love, healing you and making you whole again.

Pray to Jesus like this for 15 or 20 minutes every day for as long as it takes your wound to heal. Pray to Jesus whatever way helps for as long as possible each day. Come to Jesus in faith. Jesus cares about you more than anyone and does not want you to remain wounded and hurt. He wants you well and at peace to enjoy life. Come to Jesus through the crowd in faith, reach out and touch him. Let him take you by the hand and raise you up. “My daughter, your faith has restored you to health; go in peace and be free of your complaint.” “Little girl, I tell you to get up.”

Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013

This homily was delivered when I was engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

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