Genesis 28: 10-22a “…’Truly, the LORD is in this spot, although I did not know it!’....”
Psalm 91:1- 2, 3-4,14-15ab “…’My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’…”
Matthew 9: 18-26 “…She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.” Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.”….”
St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions (17th-20th centuries) St. Augustine was a Chinese soldier, who converted to Catholicism and became a priest. He is among the120 martyrs whose lives we recognize today as they were martyred throughout the years between 1648 and 1930. They were singled out because the Chinese government thought they might be loyal to China’s enemy Catholic countries. However, about ¾ of these saints were born in China. The website calls for prayer that one day the Chinese will not feel threatened by the Good News, but rather be able to embrace it.
Continuing in the Book of Genesis today it is hard not to let our thoughts linger on Jacob’s deceptive act with Isaac, his father. Why did this act allow Jacob to receive “the blessing” from his father instead of the older brother Esau; or why would his mother Rebekah do such a thing to her own son? But, today the Church is asking us to focus on the new Jacob, the “blessed” Jacob. He has a dream while on a journey and he seems to have a felt experience of the LORD. He awakes full of life and a commitment to serve God. He realizes God is always going to be with him. This made me stop and think about the POWER behind blessings in particular, but also prayer more generally. I am reminded that each time we attend Mass, we receive the final blessing and so we are reminded of the power behind a blessing.
Today, in Matthew’s Gospel our reading is the wonderful story of Jesus restoring life to a little girl who has died. The girl’s father seeks Jesus out and drops to his knees upon finding him. Because of the father’s strong faith Jesus does bring his little girl back to life. And another example of strong faith is revealed in the woman who touches Jesus’ cloak. If only she can touch his cloak she thinks, she will be healed of her terrible hemorrhaging. Jesus, surrounded by the crowd, feels her touch and uses this opportunity to give Glory to God again, by showing the crowd that the woman’s Faith has given back life to her too.
With these reminders we too can find our way through this week’s difficulties: a report of bad health; a big change in lifestyles; a new challenge at work; the loss of a loved one. Through prayer, we can do all things, no matter what is asked of us. Let us ask today for this kind of Faith, that only has to touch the cloak and we will be healed. Let us sit with this image of not even having to come face to face with Jesus to be healed, to be helped; for this kind of Faith we pray to the Lord. Then we’ll be ready to go out there and keep smiling as Fr. Val Peter keeps telling us. God Bless.
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