13th sunday in ordinary time

Today’s readings deal with the topic of death.  In Wisdom we are told: “God did not make death; He does not rejoice in the distraction of the living.  For He fashioned all things that they might exist.  He formed them to be imperishable.

In today’s Gospel story we hear that Jairus’ daughter is dead.  Undaunted by this report, Jesus goes and takes her hand and says: “Little girl, get up.”  She stands up immediately.

On the one hand, we note that these readings do not deny the destroying power of death.  But on the other hand, they also declare that in the end death will be defeated by life.

Implicit in these readings is a hint of the day of our own resurrection, when we too will get up from the sleep of death and our imperishable nature will be fully revealed.  Then will the saying of today’s Psalm 30 be true.  “Our mourning will be changed into dancing and we will forever give thanks to the Lord.”

Nevertheless, the thought of death still arouses a lot of dread in us and depresses us.  We need to think about how we deal with death personally.  Some of us try to escape death, at least for the moment.  We delude ourselves into thinking that we can defeat death, at least temporarily, by distracting ourselves with drugs, sex or excitement.

Some try to accept death philosophically.  They claim that death is not opposed to life, but is  essential for its growth and maturity.  The specter of death can make us live with greater urgency and intensity.

Then there are some of us who are able to face death with faith in Jesus Christ.  Ultimately it is our faith in the resurrection of the body that enables us to defeat death decisively.  Ours is a faith which allows us to read the gospel story about Jairus’ daughter not as a remembrance of a past historical happening, but as a proclamation and promise of our own rising from the dead by the hand of Jesus.

God Bless,

Msgr. Powell