Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary & Introduction to the Parish
Saint Gabriel Parish, June 27 - 28, 2015
#98B: Parts of Wisdom 1-2, Psalm 30, and 2 Corinthians 8,
along with Mark 5:21-43
along with Mark 5:21-43
I can almost hear it, the thoughts out there looking at me wondering who is this guy? And what is he going to want with me? I know that these children, here to be baptized, have that look, but there may be others. Jesus, when he turned around to find who had touched him, may have very well looked at the woman with hemorrhages in a similar manner. In our Gospel for today the woman encounters Jesus, finds healing, and lays everything at his feet - her entire story, all her pain, joy, and human experience.
|Early Depiction of Jesus and the Woman with Hemorrhages|
Catacombs of Rome
I take my cue from the woman, who having realized what had happened to her fell at the feet of Jesus and told him everything. No your not going to want to hear my whole story here and now but I’ll let you in on some of the high points:
- I was born and raised in Saint Aloysius, Pewee Valley.
- Attended the parish grade school there.
- From there I went to Saint X and on to UofL where I got a degree in history.
- Within 2 years I had more formally discerned the path of priesthood and began at Saint Meinrad Seminary where I just graduated from last month.
Now you might wonder a bit about why I am not yet ordained a priest? Especially sense I've just recently graduated from seminary. Well it has been an interesting if not difficult couple of years.
- My little brother, Kurtis, a few days after Christmas 2012 took his life.
- I too have struggled with a history of depression and mental illness.
- I had developed a habit of self medicating with alcohol before my brothers death.
- That destructive habit increased after my brother’s death.
- Even with all of that I thought I was ready for and was ordained a deacon in April of 2013.
- November of 2013 I made a mistake, drank way too much, drove, put myself and others at terrible risk, was in an accident which thank God involved no other vehicle but mine.
- I was hospitalized and placed under a psychiatric evaluation and spent a couple of days at Our Lady of Peace
- After that I went to a treatment center for several months where I worked on my alcohol abuse and emotional difficulties.
- I have payed my debt to society for my mistake and I am working on seeing it as a blessing even though I deeply regret that I put myself and others in danger. I have not taken a drink since.
- I returned to seminary but decide that ordination in May was just too soon.
- So here I am, I remain in preparation for the priesthood and I sincerely hope that comes in December.
Why do I lay all of this at your feet? Is it to make you feel sorry for me, is it to get you to like me more? That’s not my intention. In a small way I realize that people, yes even people in the Church, talk; I want to make sure you hear these things from me before you hear them from someone else. Reflecting back on the woman with the hemorrhages; I don’t think that her intention was to get Jesus to like her either. The woman with the hemorrhages had seen great pain, but also knew hope when she saw it. This man standing before you today has also known pain, and like any other person I am capable of bleeding when cut, I am capable of deep lows, and through the grace of God I’m capable of amazing heights. The woman with hemorrhages could have been extremely angry and shameful of all the years she had spent in that condition. She could have yelled out at Jesus “twelve years, Lord, twelve years I have bleed! Why do I deserve that?!” She may have shouted this accusation to the sky in the years or days prior to this encounter, and God would have understood her pain. This day, however, she falls to her knees and is healed.
It is a type of spiritual discipline that the woman with hemorrhages shows us today. A discipline that takes everything that we as individuals have - both good and not so good, and lays it at the feet of Jesus. It is also the recognition that just as we have things that we can let go of, so it is with those around us everyday. Kindness, compassion, and sincerity are necessary to accept that we all have our bloody wounds to lay at the Savior’s feet. Who here hasn’t experienced great pain and immense joy? All worthy material for that space between our knees and his feet!
|Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) Study of Feet of Apostle|
This spiritual discipline is a way to encounter a world that is extremely divided, pained, and confused. The Supreme Court decisions last week did not create this tension, nevertheless it has certainly heighten it and will continue to heighten it in the days to come. It is a blessing from God, in times of disagreement, to respond with love and understanding. There is a realization that we are all sinner in need of God’s mercy. Our first reading reminded us that God did not make death and that he does not rejoice in the destruction of the living. To respond out of anger or complete dismissal of either ‘side’ as stupid or sinful is a symptom of holding on to what we don’t want to let go of. We either hold on to the things that lead to death and away from God or we let them fall at the Saviors’ feet. Listening to another, conversing with someone you don’t agree with, these are method which we meet at the Savior’s feet. The world needs more self-honesty, kindness, compassion, and sincerity. In our interactions this week we can encounter one another as the woman with hemorrhages encountered Christ - with an appreciation of life, not of death.