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Bishop' Homily for the Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Jesus is still ready to stop the bleeding in our lives.

By Bishop Larry Silva
June 27, 2021

[Sacred Heart Church, Punahou (Parish Visitation)]

Stop the bleeding!  That is what we often say when there is a crisis, because once we stop the bleeding we can better deal with the underlying cause of the bleeding – whether we are speaking in medical terms, economic terms, or social terms.  We try to deal with what is most obviously urgent first, then move toward a more lasting solution.

God knows we have plenty of crises to deal with:  marriages and families are bleeding as they are affected by a destructive notion of self-fulfillment of each person rather than self-giving to the other, and the bleeding manifests itself in divorces, abuse, or simply boredom that is usually resolved by seeking thrills outside the marriage.  Human dignity is bleeding when we see more and more people living on the streets, or children in the womb being treated like pariahs rather than precious gifts.  Our nation and even our Church are bleeding from wounds we inflict on each other in varying and opposing ideologies and the disrespectful and vitriolic way we have learned to speak to one another.

The woman in the Gospel was trying to stop the bleeding she had been experiencing for twelve years, never being able to find a real remedy despite great expenditures of time, money and effort.  But here we see that she tried something else, something that would bring her real and lasting healing.  She dared to touch Jesus and to trust that he could do what no amount of purely human effort had been able to solve.  Just touching his clothes with faith made her whole again.

I believe we are being challenged to have the same kind of faith and to go to the same source to stop the bleeding that is draining us and our world of life and peace.  No government or Church program, no law, and no decree from on high will stop the bleeding that is going on all around us.  As it was then, so it is now, that only Jesus can bring healing and life to this situation.

But, sometimes we approach Jesus with the faith that he will send down from heaven whatever is needed to heal our bleeding homes and bleeding hearts.  Yet we often treat Jesus as if he were still dead, as the bystanders did at the house of the synagogue official when they looked upon the little girl as dead.  But Jesus scolded them and declared the girl alive, but only sleeping.  He had a faith that could see beyond the obvious to the deeper reality.  And so the girl came alive.  I often wonder if we Catholics follow a past-tense, once-upon-a-time, long-ago and far-away Jesus, rather than the Jesus who may seem to be tuned out, but who is alive and much more engaged than we can imagine.  Could this be why so many people have left the Catholic Church, because they have forgotten that in the Eucharist Jesus is truly present to us, the living bread come down from heaven for the life of the world?  Like those in the house of the synagogue official, they scoff at the notion that someone who died could still be alive.  Yet Jesus is more alive than that little girl we heard about in today’s gospel.  He is still ready to stop the bleeding in our lives, but we must have faith that he will do so.

The faith we are called to have, of course, is a faith that convinces us that we are the Body of the risen Christ.  We are his clothes that the world can touch for its healing.  We are the ones who are so intimately united with him in holy communion that we are commissioned to give something to eat to restore the strength of those who are so depleted with the bleeding in their lives.  Just as power came out of Jesus to heal the woman with the bleeding, his power comes into us here so that we can bring healing and life wherever the bleeding of suffering and death have drained away life.

But the power of Jesus is meant to go outside these doors, as we clothe ourselves with his Spirit and allow him to raise us up from sin and death.  He wants to stop the bleeding in our homes and families, and he does so through us who live in those homes and families.  He wants to stop the draining of the energy it takes to try to be the gods we often want to be ourselves, and instead to simply be the joyful servants of the one true God.  He wants us to take his good news to our offices and schools, to our neighborhoods and civic communities, so that the life drained out of us by sin may fill us instead and nourish us.  He wants us to be his clothes and his hands that we can touch what others may judge to be so far gone it cannot be revived, and, with faith, call it once again to the joy of living fully in his love.