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  • Writer's pictureFr. Austin

Restored and Raised

When I hear in the reading today from Wisdom that “God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living,” I admit that I am a little confused. If God didn’t make it, and God doesn’t like it, why does He allow it? Have you ever felt that way? I bet you have – especially those of us who have lost someone dear to us. Yet there it is: coming in a biblical book entitled “Wisdom.” Therefore, am I stupid for feeling this way? Am I “unwise?”

The terror of death is the sense that all is over. That when we die, we are no different than a weed in a field: dried up, wasted away, annihilated. Gone forever. The utter nothingness of death is what scares us the most, and when we suffer here that fear is even more amplified.

However, even in the face of that fear, we are offered experiences and even evidence that there is more beyond that cold final door of death. We feel in our bones the transcendence of our human nature – that there is Something out there bigger than us, bigger than this world, beyond our ability to grasp. It seems that this longing has been built into us from the very start. Our lives, we see, are filled with new beginnings and endings. Beautiful things come and beautiful things go.

But, they come.

And this fuels not fear, but hope – especially for the disciple. We who have encountered Jesus Christ know that He is the key to the fullness of life for which we feel ourselves created. When God made you, He did so with a dream; a dream of spending eternity with you. That’s true for everyone. And so, no, He did not make death, nor does He like it. So, He sent us Jesus who conquers death and gives us a share in that victory.

Jairus and the poor woman with the hemorrhage know this. They know it. When they approach Jesus they do so with confidence that He is the one – the only one – who can offer them what they long for in their hearts. Yes, this means healing, but it is so much more. It is reassurance that God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. This truth about God is revealed in the miracles of Christ. He shows that He does will our healing, he does will our life.

But we also have to want it when we approach Him. The woman who approaches Jesus quietly and unseen wants healing, and she know that she will receive it from Jesus. Her plan was to slip in, take that healing, and slip away – to live her life again, better, healed, but back to “normal.” This is not what Jesus wanted either. While He wants life and healing for us, He also wants the fullness of that life.  Jesus does not want to simply “fix” us; He wants to transform us.

And that is what happens with the woman.  After her miraculous healing, Jesus insists on encountering her – really encountering her – seeing her face to face and allowing her to feel His love for her. That love is not something that one just “slips away from.” When God holds your gaze you will never turn away.

This is the power of faith in Jesus. Yes, it might bring you the simple healing that you seek. However, even more than that, it will renew your life and place you in God’s light. No one can resist that.

As Jesus reached Jairus’ home and those mourners ridicule Him, He calls Jairus to renew his own faith. “Do not be afraid,” He tells him, “just have faith.” And Jairus does.  The little girl is restored to life; the family is renewed; and the joy of the Gospel is made present there.

Friends, this is what we are called to. We are called to seek Jesus in all His power. Maybe we have wounds that need to be healed; maybe we have been carrying burdens for a long time; maybe we are experiencing some sort of death in our life. Jesus came just for this reason. When we encounter Him, like Jairus and his daughter, like the woman with the hemorrhage, like each disciple throughout history, then we learn what God has in store for us. Through that encounter, we each experience the resurrection.

The longing, the restlessness in our hearts is there for a reason. God wants us to be tuned to Him – especially in our fear and in the face of nothingness. He wills your life; He desires your wholeness. And that wholeness can only be found in Him.

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