Approaching Jesus and Encountering Him
By Fr. Azam Vianney Mansha, CJM
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Suffering is a reality in our lives, but it is not created by God as what we have heard in the first reading: “God did not make death nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living” (Wisdom1:13). If we deny that suffering is created by human beings, then we are not facing reality. On the other hand, if we accept it, then we are silently confessing our faith, saying,
“God hates sin, but He loves the sinner.” It can also be…”God hates death, but He loves life. And there is also...”God hates sickness, but He gives health.”Why?...because He said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick (do)” (Mark 2:17).
In today’s Gospel, we encounter two faith-enriching episodes that has a father who feared for the life of his twelve-year-old daughter and a woman who feared that society would consider her as “impure” due to her painful, debilitating illness that seemed incurable.
In both Gospel episodes, the father and the woman made initiatives to approach Jesus. The first step towards Jesus is to take a risk. That is faith! We go to Jesus while keeping in our minds that He will restore life as expressed by the father: “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” In the case of the sick woman who suffered from the fear of being a religious outcast, she broke the barrier and quietly joined the crowd with this faith: “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” St. Paul immensely reminds us, “if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Roman 10:9).
It is our faith in Jesus Christ that actually helps us in encountering Him and while encountering Him, our whole life is changed just like how the father was able to get his little daughter back and how the outcast woman was completely healed. Faith is not an abstract belief, ideology, mental activity or passive acceptance of facts through rituals or cultural activities; rather, FAITH is a behavior towards God which leads believers to have Divine light and power implanted in their hearts through the Words of Christ: “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Faith is then marked on our soul through the blessed sacraments.
Let us never forget that approaching Jesus might be a painful or demanding experience but it is worthwhile because every time when we reach to Jesus and encounter Jesus we restore our life; we get strength to give witness like a woman “She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth”; we get hope to bring life in our society while recalling the Words of Jesus to a father, “The child is not dead but asleep,” and we acknowledge that Jesus Christ is our Savior by joining the Psalmist, “I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.”
May Mary the Mother of Jesus and our Mother intercede for us to approach Jesus with complete faith so that our encounter with Him may change our whole life!