Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

My dear friends in our Lord: Glory to Jesus Christ!

Often it is the case that great need and cruel affliction are able to dispose and move men towards faith and the remembrance of God, and to incline and inspire the unbelieving and recalcitrant to the desire and will to do what is good and beneficial.

The trials and hardships of life, straitened circumstances and severe sicknesses, compel many, even the lazy and hard hearted, to run to what is good and profitable unto salvation. The prophet David spoke of this when he said to God, “With bit and bridle bind fast their jaws, who come not near unto Thee.”

Since we men are stubborn, and find virtue difficult at times, and are little concerned with the salvation of our souls – we must admit that – divine providence permits us all to be wounded by temptations, adversities, afflictions and serious sicknesses, in order that we may turn to God and take every care for our salvation. This may be learned from many places, but especially from the case presented to us in the Gospel today.

Because of the miracles wrought by our Lord, and because of the soundness and the supernatural power of His teaching, many people were following Him, asking for healing and receiving it.

As we heard, there came also a certain ruler of the synagogue, Jairus by name. Now he was not an unimportant or unrespected man. He was not simply a certain man from out of the crowd. Rather, he was one who was well-known, wealthy, well-born and prominent; and he fell down in supplication, being in need and driven by dire necessity. He entreated Christ, the Giver of life, because his twelve year-old daughter was dying, his only child.

See, my friends, that anguish and affliction and the exigencies of illness and disease, combined here in today’s Gospel with the incomparable love of a parent for a child, do compel us, leading us to what is better and more profitable.

And our blessed Lord sets off to the house at entreaty of Jairus. And as our Lord was going to the house in order to heal the young girl, there came His way a woman having, as the Gospel relates, an issue of blood, who also had very great faith.

Drawing near, with great fear she touched the fringe of our Saviour’s garment, truly believing that if she could but touch Him, she would be healed. And immediately the flow of blood stopped, and she was healed of her infirmity.

She brought the determined faith of her heart to Christ; Christ Who has power to heal, and immediately she received healing and good health. This suffering woman put aside all doubts about her healing. She was not held back by the thought of how long she had suffered her affliction; she was not discouraged over the inability of the physicians to cure her. She simply believed in her heart, and was healed.

As our Lord said, “All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive, “ And, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

The Lord wished to show the faith of the woman with an issue of blood and to make it known to all, so that others also would imitate her, and so that Jairus would have good hope for the healing of his daughter. Therefore did our Lord inquire publicly, asking who it was that touched Him.

Saint Peter, who on so many occasions appears bold, even brash, is quite the same here, saying, “So many people pressing Thee, and yet sayest Thou, Who touched Me?”

Peter did not yet comprehend that our Lord never speaks an empty word, nor does He ever ask any question without value. For here our Lord was not asking who had touched Him among the great throng of people who were following Him, crowding and pushing together. Rather, He was asking who had touched Him – actively touching Him – reaching out with genuine faith and an unshaken will.

You see, just as one person may have ears to hear – and does in fact hear – another might very well have ears but does not hear. So also one person also might draw near bodily to Christ – and may reach out to Him, to touch Him with faith; whereas another person may also draw near bodily to Christ, yet his heart is far from Him. The Lord, in today’s Gospel asks the question and makes the woman known, in order to show her faith and before all.

Our Lord likewise said, “I perceive that virtue is gone out of Me,” and very rightly so. For whereas the holy prophets of old did not have power emanating from themselves, working miracles rather by divine grace, our Lord Jesus Christ, being the Source of all good and all virtue has power going out from Himself as from the Source, healing the infirmities and illnesses of souls and bodies.

The woman had not dared to come forward openly before the crowd to pray the Lord for healing, because of her great reverence. But since our Lord now compells her by seeking who it was that had touched Him, she comes forward, fearful and trembling, and falls down before Him. Even with her great faith, it is possible to imagine that she was afraid that our Lord would be annoyed and or even angry with her for approaching Him secretly in the midst of the crowd, and that perhaps her illness would return. Therefore, she approaches with all reverence and renders the Lord due honour, and by her confession she openly announces her healing before all.

Our blessed Lord then bestows upon the woman a twofold healing; having already healed her infirmity, He also calms the trembling of her soul; saying to her: “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.”

And just then there came a servant from the house of Jairus, saying not to trouble the Lord, for the young girl had died. When our Lord had heard this, He did not even wait for Jairus to answer, but spoke first, assuring Jairus: Do not be afraid; only believe, and thy daughter will be saved. Take the example of the woman with the issue of blood, who was healed before your very eyes on account of her faith; be like her, and you will not be left frustrated.

Then, upon arriving at the house of Jairus and entering into it, aside from the girl’s parents, Our Lord allows only Saints John, James and Peter to go in, since these were the Pillars of the Apostles, and our Lord knew they could keep the miracle quiet until the appointed time. Our Lord did not wish the miracle to be disclosed abroad before the appointed time, because of the envy of the Jews. We see that there were many of His deeds He wished to be concealed for a time, that the Jews might not be struck by envy and so fall into sin.

And this likewise is how we should act, too. If, for example, there are those who are envious of us, or even hate us, we need not reveal to them our attainments or advancement, lest they be so struck by them that we make them more envious and thus lead them into sin by our lording it over them.

Recall always that those who are envious do not consider their own misery to be a loss, but rather that others have good things is to them a loss. Contrarily, to them their success lies not so much in their own attaining of that which is good, as it does in that misfortunes befall their neighbour.

When the Lord said, She is not dead, but sleepeth, those who heard Him laughed. Our Lord in his omniscience planned beforehand for the hearers to laugh when He said quite truly, She is not dead, but sleepeth. He wished us to hear this too, that we might be all the more firm in our resolve. There will be those who will laugh at the very idea that our Lord can perform miracles within us, for they laughed at the Master Himself. Let us simply go forward as our Lord did, and meet the miracle face to face.

After this, our Lord put them all out, save for the parents and His apostles, because He shows us that it behooves Him, if He is to perform a miracle, not to do it as a spectacle in front of everyone. But rather often these miracles take place alone and in silence. Let us take that to heart, my friends.

Then, the Master returned her spirit to the girl, by His own power and might; He did not put new soul into the dead child, but the same soul which had gone out of the body He caused to return to it. He further commanded that the girl be given something to eat, as a greater assurance, a greater confirmation and a greater demonstration that He had indeed resurrected her. He charges her parents to tell no one what had taken place; and here we see the very image and type of virtue that is humble-minded and does not seek glory. Our Lord showed that He is the Giver of all good things, not a fame-seeker.

And moreover, our Lord taught His disciples that if they should ever perform any great deed, they should not boast about it or be exalted, nor should they ask for anything in return. “Freely ye have received,” He said, “freely give.”

Rather, they should glorify God, and be concerned about the salvation of the suffering, and lay down their lives for our Lord’s flock, which He redeemed with His divine and precious Blood.

Let us also, my friends, be eager for Christ to enter into the heart of each one of us, and to drive out the evil thoughts that trouble us, and to proclaim to every soul which is dead through sins, Arise!

With all our hearts let us beseech God to heal the hidden infirmity of the flesh within us; for He has abundant fountains of mercy, an abyss of loving-kindness, oceans of pity; only let us fall down before Him with undoubting faith and a constant mind. Those who believe rightly and without doubt will be vouchsafed help, assistance, and salvation from God.

Thus is the soul cleansed and granted healing, and comes to the enjoyment of eternal good things, through the grace of the divine Physician of souls and bodies, our Lord and King Jesus Christ.

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