13TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME: MARK 5: 21-43
Today’s gospel parables show us the power of faith and the power of touch. The synagogue official was the ruler of the synagogue and the most important and respected person in the community and nothing stopped him from having faith in Jesus. When his daughter fell ill, he immediately thought of Jesus. His pride, prejudice, and dignity were forgotten. With humbleness and strong faith, he approached Jesus and asked for healing for his daughter. What a challenging example for us; we all make some judgments and keep prejudices towards others. Let us try to stop these judgments and prejudices. Let us approach Jesus with deep faith and humble hearts and ask for healing for others and for ourselves. To do both, we need a deep faith in Jesus!
Let me share with you a meaningful story: A girl asked the parish priest to visit her home and pray with her father. When the parish priest came to her home, he found the father was lying in bed and was very sick. There was an empty chair beside his bed. The priest assumed that the father had been informed of his visit, but the father did not know that the priest would be coming to visit him. When the priest saw the empty chair, he thought that the chair was for him to sit in. The sick man told the priest, “I want to tell you something that I have never told anyone, not even my daughter. All my life, I have never known how to pray. At church, I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer and faith life, but I have not given this any attention.
A few years ago, my best friend said to me, “Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus.” My friend suggested to sit down in a chair, place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith, see God in the chair. Then, just speak to God in the same way you are speaking with me now. So, I tried it and I do this a couple of hours every day and I have found peace in my life.” The parish priest was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old man to continue on the journey. The priest prayed with him, anointed him with oil, and then returned to the church.
After two days, the daughter called the priest and said her father died very peacefully. Also, the daughter noticed that before he died, he leaned over and rested his head on the empty chair. The priest wiped tears from his eyes and said, “I wish we could all go like that.”
This beautiful story, “Daddy’s Empty Chair” gives us the moral message that: We live by faith, not by sight! Walking by faith means, we are walking with Jesus. Even though we cannot see God right now with our physical eyes, we see and experience God through our own everyday events and the people, whomever we meet every day. We all need “Daddy’s Empty Chair” and we can tell everything to God. Let us have trust and deep faith in God.
Like in today’s gospel, the synagogue official’s daughter was healed by the loving touch of Jesus and the woman, who touched the edge of Jesus’ robe, experience the healing power of Jesus, and Jesus brought them back to life. Unlike Jesus, we cannot bring a dead person back to life, but we can give life to others, especially those who are sick, lonely, and poor, by our loving touches, by respecting them as they are, by showing them compassion and kindness, and by being generous with them!
During our liturgy, we pray like the centurion, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word and my servant will be healed.” Let us invite Jesus into the roofs of our hearts and souls, the roofs of our families, and the roofs of our own broken relationships. Jesus is ready to come into our lives, heal us, and give us new lives!