Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Faith That Saves

13 Sun OT - Yr B - 2015

          Why are you terrified?  Do you not yet have faith?
          This was Jesus’ question last week when the storm scared His friends so much they thought they might die.  Sometimes God seems like a big ole bully in the storms of our lives; what He seems to be saying or doing (or seems not to be saying or doing) can seem like accusation, challenge, or rebuke to us.  But often God is reminding us that we can trust in His love; since He is the one that commands the winds and the rains, we need not fear the storms of life – with faith in His love and care for us, we need not fear the storms.
          Last week Jesus asked, ‘Why are you terrified?  Do you not yet have faith?’  This week, Jesus says something very different because the woman cured of her illness had the faith His disciples were apparently only beginning to develop.  ‘Daughter – your faith has saved you…Go in peace and be cured…!’  What can we learn from this woman that might help us live in and through the storms of our lives with a faith that will save and cure us?
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          First, she came to believe what she’d heard about Jesus.  Unlike what sometimes passes for faith in our lives today, this woman believed in the concrete reality that Jesus was someone who could and would cure her – not in some theoretical or analogous way, but in a real, tangible, actual way.  She encountered the news that there was a man who could actually heal those who sought His healing, and she believed that enough that she put herself in a position to physically and tangibly reach out to Him for healing.
          Friends – how’s your faith?  Do we yet have this kind of faith?  Or do our pithy and cliché sayings about faith lack the concrete substance of this woman’s faith?  Deep in your heart, do you believe that Jesus can heal your wounds; do you believe that Jesus will calm the storms of your life; do you really believe that Jesus can and will heal those we care for?  This woman’s faith was simple and clear – she truly believed Jesus could and would heal her, and she did something about it!
          She reached out in a tangible, physical, obvious way to receive His healing.  Are we engaging our need for Christ and our belief that He can heal us in real, tangible, concrete ways?  I’m talking about something more here that prattling off a prayer as we’re drifting off to sleep at night.  Are we actually getting down on our knees, for example?  Are we rearranging our schedules to reach out to Jesus in any concrete way?  Actually driving to the Church to encounter Jesus in the tabernacle?  Fasting?  Getting up in the middle of the night to light a candle and pray for healing?  Are we taking any real, tangible, concrete steps in our lives to actually encounter Jesus the Healer? 
This woman’s faith was strong but simple – she believed Jesus could and would heal her, so she reached out in a real way to receive His healing:  Friends – I think we’ve tried to turn all of this into something that happens as a coincidental part of life, fitting into our schedules a quick prayer here or there when its convenient to us, without making any real commitment or effort to seek the healing we need.  And that’s a faith problem.  If I told you someone in Seattle had actually discovered a cure whatever ails you or your loved ones – fear, anxiety, illness, addiction, relationships – whatever – if you actually believed it, wouldn’t you move heaven and earth to get to Seattle as soon as possible?  You’d do something more than talking about it, think about it…
Well friends – we don’t have to go to Seattle!  This Jesus we worship is the Healer!  Whatever healing you need in your life, He really can provide – He really will provide – if we can have the faith of this woman, who really believed what she heard about Jesus so completely that she reached out in a tangible, physical, obvious way to receive His healing.
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She believed what she heard about Jesus, she went out of her way to actually reach out to Him, and when He turned toward her she “fell down before Jesus and told Him the whole truth.”  Friends – what are we hiding from Jesus about those areas we most need His healing – what are we hiding from ourselves?  What are we not giving Him in the confessional? 
I have a theory – test it out with me.  If there is an area of your life that needs healing that doesn’t seem to be coming …then I believe either you don’t truly believe that He can and will heal you, or you haven’t gone out of your way to seek His healing in any tangible way, or there’s some part of the whole story that you’ve not yet given over to Him.  Is there some story you keep telling yourself about the situation that leaves out your own contribution to whatever needs the healing?  Have you been routinely to confession to ‘fall down before Jesus to tell Him the whole truth’?  I’m not talking about once every ten years or even once a year – I’m talking about routinely, regularly, intentionally coming face to face in the Sacrament of Reconciliation which is the Sacrament Jesus gave us to fall down before Him and tell Him the whole truth
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Raise your hand this morning if you need to hear Jesus say to you, ‘Son – Daughter – your faith has saved you – go in peace and be cured…’  Don’t be shy – forget what others might say or think – this is a matter of your healing.  Raise your hand if there is healing you need to see in your life or in the life of someone you love.  Great – that’s the first step!  Now…right now…begin to consider how you can do what this woman – an unnamed giant of faith – consider how you can really do what she did over the next 30 days, and see where that takes you.  She believed what she heard about Jesus – she believed that He could and would provide the healing – she believed it so perfectly and so simply that she reached out in a tangible, physical, obvious way to receive His healing – and when He turned toward her she ‘fell down before Jesus and told Him the whole truth.’

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