Saturday, June 8, 2013

Tenth Sunday Ordinary Time Year C

Tenth Sunday Ordinary Time Year C
Readings: 1 Kgs 17:17-24; Gal 1:11-19; Lk 7:11-17

A funeral procession is transformed into a joyful celebration of life; a mother’s tears of sorrow transformed into tears of joy! In the Gospel, we have an emotionally charged story of Jesus meeting a funeral procession at the city gate of Naim. The dead person happens to be the only son of a widow in the city. The mother is in front as the funeral procession meets Jesus. On seeing the sorrowful mother Jesus raises the young man to life when he unexpectedly says, "Young man I say to you, get up!" Suddenly, the dead man sits up on the stretcher. Getting off the stretcher in the midst of deep emotions, he embraces his mother. A funeral procession is transformed into joyful celebration of life; a sorrowful mother’s tears are changed into tears of joy! It is no surprise that the people immediately exclaim: “God has visited his people.”  That is the Good News.

The Church’s ministry of healing through Holy Anointing and the compassionate ministry of bereavement touches the people affected deeply. In 2010, I was engaged in hospital ministry for six months from January to June. In those few months I was deeply touched by the way families and those in hospitals appreciate our priestly ministry of healing. I witnessed people recover even from extreme danger; I noticed real conversion of patients deeply touched by God’s grace and led to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. That might explain why Pope Francis on Holy Thursday exhorted us all to go out to the people and use the Holy Oil of the sick; to go out to the sheep and even smell like the sheep! Anointing with the Holy Oils has a healing as well as a soothing sacramental effect. Going to the sheep similarly is sacramental. When the shepherd visits the sheep, Jesus the Good Shepherd is there assuring, comforting, securing and nourishing the sheep. That is the Good News of God visiting his people!
So what message do we take home this Sunday? 1) The readings reveal to us our God of life who transforms death into life and sickness into wholeness; 2) We are challenged to care for the sick, the suffering and the bereaved, and to be instruments of God’s gift of life and healing; 3) We become servants of those who need our care by being instruments and sacraments of God’s presence to them! Being instruments and sacraments to others is precisely what St. Teresa of Avila meant when she said,

“Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
With compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.” (St. Teresa of Avila, Poems and Prayes)

That is the Good news, God visiting his people!

©2013 John S. Mbinda

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