June 28, 2015: 13th Sunday Ordinary Time B
Click to hear Audio Homily
Have you ever walked in another person’s shoes? Someone commented that before you can walk in another person’s shoes, you must first remove your own. There was a nun in charge of a convent who was informed that there was a young woman at the entrance who desired to enter the convent. The nun overheard the young woman say that she didn’t graduate high school and that she was from a poor family. She glanced over at the young woman and noticed her somewhat neglected appearance. The nun’s better judgment told her to dismiss her and go about her business. But something inside told her to give the young woman the benefit of the doubt. The nun could not have known that Jesus had been preparing this young woman since her birth to enter that religious order. The nun could not have known that some years later that young disheveled looking woman would be declared a Saint of the Church and become the order’s spiritual co-founder.
If we relied on common sense alone, we would err on the side of being insensitive to what others are going through. Because something may be easy for us, we may never realize what a costly effort it may be for someone else. Many in the crowd in today’s Gospel did not notice a woman who was desperately seeking to touch Jesus. No one knew, except Jesus, that she had been suffering for 12 years from an illness and had exhausted all human possibilities of healing. Whereas people in the crowd were bumping into Jesus as they walked along, this woman was consciously attempting to have physical contact with Jesus. When she finally succeeded in touching Jesus, she experienced a dramatic healing. She serves as a model for how we should approach Jesus. Do we order our day with sincere desire to encounter Jesus? Are we coming to church out of obligation, or are we consciously making the effort to meet him in the Eucharist? Do we come to Jesus determined to touch him personally, with a lively awareness of the grace and power that can flow forth from him? Jesus seeks a personal encounter with each of us. We should seek it too.
When the woman suffering from hemorrhage encountered Jesus, he was sensitive and courteous to the frightened woman. He made her feel as if she was the only person in the world. His touch healed her body; his words healed her spirit; his love healed her heart. We can experience a similar healing in the Eucharist and during Reconciliation.
We must also remember that we encounter the living Christ in one another. How often do we merely bump against one another, not realizing the presence of Jesus in others? Amid our preoccupations of the day, we are only half-conscious of his presence in our midst. Perhaps we dismiss the encounter as purely accidental or bothersome.
Faith comes to fulfillment only in a personal encounter with Jesus. To help me not dismiss the persons that God places in my path, I pray a prayer offered by St. Faustina. She was the disheveled and poor young woman who was almost dismissed by the mother superior because of her appearance. It is a beautiful prayer of asking God to help us be merciful as He is merciful with us. (Now listen prayerfully to her words.)
Help me, O Lord, that my eyes may be merciful, so that I may never suspect or judge from appearances, but look for what is beautiful in my neighbors’ souls and come to their rescue.
Help me, O Lord, that my ears may be merciful, so that I may give heed to my neighbors’ needs and not be indifferent to their pains and moanings.
Help me, O Lord, that my tongue may be merciful, so that I should never speak negatively of my neighbor, but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all.
Help me, O Lord, that my hands may be merciful and filled with good deeds, so that I may do only good to my neighbors and take upon myself the more difficult and toilsome tasks.
Help me, O Lord, that my heart may be merciful so that I myself may feel all the sufferings of my neighbor.