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Bishop's Homily for the Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

June 30, 2024

[St. Catherine Church, Kapaa (Confirmation & First Communion); St. Theresa Church, Kekaha (Confirmation & First Communion); Immaculate Conception Church, Lihue (Confirmation & First Communion)]

Life can be very hard sometimes.  It certainly was for this woman we read about in the Gospel. She was bleeding for twelve years, which not only made her very weak; it also kept her from attending the synagogue, since anyone bleeding was considered “unclean.”  She was not only sick, but isolated.  She was not just sitting around, moaning about her misfortune.  She sought relief through many doctors. In the end, it was not medicine but faith that saved her, because she had so much faith in Jesus.  Just touching his cloak, without even bothering him to pay attention to her, would be enough to heal her.  It was this faith that Jesus commended, and she was healed from then on.

Life was hard, all of a sudden, for the synagogue official and his family.  Their beautiful twelve-year-old daughter had become so sick that she was at the point of death.  Yet he did not go to the medical doctors, but to Jesus, the great healer.  Even when he was given the worst news, that his daughter had died, he still put his faith in Jesus, and, as we saw, Jesus raised the girl up from the dead.

But that was a very long time ago.  Things like this do not happen now, right?  Oh, yes, indeed they do!  You may not have the same troubles, but we all have some.

Is someone bullying you, and you feel frightened and frustrated?  Are you anxious about passing a test at school or being selected for a particular sports team?  Is someone in your family very sick, causing you great worry?  Are there troubles in your family, with people not loving each other as you know they should?  These and many other things like them can drain the life out of you.  Back in Gospel days, people could turn to Jesus for healing, but where do they go now?  They also go to the same Jesus who is with us in a very special way in the sacraments!

No, we can no longer touch the tassel of Jesus’ cloak for healing, but we have something even better!  Jesus gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit, so that we may have the wisdom and understanding to know that he is still with us; and the courage to approach him in all our joys and sorrows.  He gives us this gift of God himself, so that we can never be far from God.  When you are confirmed today, it will be Jesus himself who will mark you with the Oil of Gladness and breathe his Holy Spirit into you forever, so that no matter what happens, you need not fear.  But it gets even better!  The Jesus who lived on this earth two thousand years ago, makes himself physically present to us here, now, today, when he gives us his own Body as food and his own Blood to quench our thirst for peace.  Jesus, the living bread come down from heaven, will not just be on this altar when, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.  He will enter you in the most intimate and holy communion with you – and with everyone else who comes to be nourished by him.  In that way, Jesus can live in your house, because he will live there in you.  Jesus can go to your school and make it a place of joyful learning and growing friendships, because he will be there in you.  Jesus can be on your sports team or in your dance class, because you, who receive him in Holy Communion, can make him present wherever you go.

And do not think for a moment that Jesus cannot use you to bring healing to many who suffer, or even life to those who live as the walking dead.  He gives himself to you physically, so that you can give him to others, and be their source of healing and life.  This is not to say that he takes away all suffering from life, but he will at least transform it to make it meaningful and to lead us through it to something even better.  Jesus came to overcome death and destruction, and he does this even now through us who become members of his Body when we are immersed in God’s love in Baptism, sealed by the Holy Spirit, and nourished by the true presence of Jesus Christ with us.  And then he sends you – and all of us who are in communion with him – to bring his healing and life to all we meet.