Just a thought
In today’s gospel reading we see Jesus performing two miraculous cures. One for a woman who, for twelve years had suffered from a painful haemorrhage. The other a twelve-year-old girl who had died and was restored to life. Jesus as usual, is moved to compassion in the face of such suffering and grief.
We should remember that all the wonderful things that Jesus did and His miraculous cures; while they record historical facts, they are, also lessons in how God works and invites us to enter, with gratitude, into His work of grace in our own lives and in the world today. It sometimes happens that we help people without realizing it: some word we say, some gesture we make; and they are deeply touched. This is God working through us, despite of ourselves. What we should also do, is always, try to be keenly aware of those times when God is giving us a nudge, and is leading us into an opportunity to help our neighbour.
If we study a stained glass window from the outside of a Church or a Cathedral, the window seems dead, leaden, and uninspiring. We may hardly be able to work out even the figures or the scene it represents. Consequently, if we do not know from experience, it could be hard to believe that this same window could be filled with richness, colour and beauty — when seen from the inside. From the outside, it is difficult to imagine how splendid this window can be. Yet from within the building, it can be breathtaking, as the sunlight passes through it and depicts the smallest detail. And, to truly experience this loveliness, we need to enter the Church to see the windows message and splendour. This comparison of the extreme difference between seeing a stained glass window from within or without can be experienced and applied to our faith.
In the Archbishop’s pastoral letter two weeks ago, he spoke of a new initiative for our diocese, with four main categories of focus; one of these categories was ‘Evangelisation’ — we are asked to encourage others to know God’s love for them, by inviting them to Church, to pray, and to encounter Christ. To encounter Christ from the inside of the Church, where, like the stained glass window, the light can shine through and they can see the beauty, and richness of our faith — to see the beauty and love of our God.
There is an enormous difference between having the God given gift of faith, even weak faith, and being without it. We can all be looking at the same life experiences, but we see in a totally different way when we look through the eyes of faith.
Today’s gospel reading is an illustration of this contrast. Both the concerned father (Jairus) and the suffering woman, have faith, be it rudimentary. The gospel includes the crowd and the family of the little girl who do not seem to appreciate Christ’s meaning and purpose. They do not see with eyes of faith, so it seems ridiculous to them that our Lord’s healing power could be real. This is similar to the stained glass window. Were we to describe the magnificence of the windows to someone standing outside, we might be subject to derision and disbelief, too. Seen only from the outside, the windows understandably appear drab and meaningless to them. Far better to take a look from the inside. Of course, the times we live in and the country that we live in are different from the land of the gospel stories. But the basic conditions in approaching Christ remain the same:
We must approach Him. “Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest”. (Mt. 11:28). Jesus welcomes everybody saint or sinner. He gave His life for us and conquered death by rising again, that we might all of us: mankind through all time, might be saved, or at least have the opportunity to be saved.
The characters in the gospel today recognised this, and come to Jesus. So too, we come forward, acknowledge the Lord, believe and commit ourselves to Him. In doing so, wondrous things can then emerge in our faith, things that we are sure of, and can rely on. This was the choice facing both Jairus and the suffering woman in today’s gospel. And we know that Christ welcomed them and responded to their need and trust that He could heal.
It’s evident then, if we never really commit ourselves to follow the Master, totally, then of course we will never experience the rich fulfilment of our faith. We will be like people standing outside looking up at the dark leaded windows. But we are not these people, we know better than that don’t we? We know Our Blessed Lord is waiting for us, to walk through the door so He can shower his blessings and graces upon us, and so that the light we have been given in our baptism may shine for those people we meet, and they will know we are God’s children.
This light of Christ has already shone on us many times since we received it along with the gift of faith at baptism. Now God wants His light to shine through us, He wants us to look around us to discern who is searching. Maybe on the outside looking in. We are the Lord’s public face and concern, His evangelizers. We offer the opportunity to experience the indescribable richness of our faith so that His light may also shine on and in others.