The liturgy of the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time has a “protagonist,” and Our Lord wants to change our view of it: death. Will we open the doors of our hearts to Him?
Newsdesk (June 27, 2021, 11:40 AM, Gaudium Press) In the liturgy of the 13th Sunday in the Ordinary time, we have a most valuable opportunity to consider a reality in which, more or less day by day, death will be present.
We will all pass through that door
Mundane people,” says Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, “only consider happy those who enjoy the goods of this world: honors, pleasures, and riches. But death ends all this earthly happiness. “What is your life? It is a vapor that appears for a moment” (Cf. Jas. 4:15). The vapors that the earth exudes when they rise into the air under the effect of the sun’s rays sometimes offer a flashy appearance, but how long does this bright appearance last? At the blow of the slightest wind, everything disappears.
The powerful man of the world who today is respected, feared, and almost worshipped – tomorrow after his death, will be despised, forgotten, and cursed. Death forces one to leave everything.
The brother of the great Servant of God, Thomas of Kempis, boasted that he had built a magnificent house. One of his friends, however, remarked that he noticed a severe defect.
– What is it? – he asked.
– The defect I find in it,” answered his friend, “is that you had a door made.
– But is the door a defect?
– Yes, because the day will come when you will have to go out dead through that door, leaving the house and everything else that belongs to you.
For death strips man of all the goods of this world.
What will we take from this life?
The traditional saying reminds us that “a coffin has no drawer and a shroud has no pocket”… What can we do? The answer is simple: accumulate the goods that we can take with us! And what are these goods? Faith, hope, and charity.
Faith will become vision, hope, possession, and charity, which is God’s love, will be the measure of our reward in heaven. That is what can be noticed in this Sunday’s Gospel when it presents the woman suffering from bleeding. She approaches Jesus full of faith to touch him; she hoped that he would heal her. Her reward was to receive the love and the gaze of the same God who had become Man precisely to heal us of all our ills.
Next, we can contemplate the scene of the dead girl.
Why did she have to die so soon? So that the Master could give history a lesson as if to say: “for you who are earthly and worldly, she is dead. However, I, who am God, say in truth that ‘the child is not dead, but asleep’ (Mk 5:39). What was the reaction of those present? “They laughed at him” (Mk 5:40).
That was the proof of their mundanity and their narrow-mindedness: they did not understand that physical death for God is a dormition. As a result, while weeping, they began to laugh at Jesus, thus proving that neither the weeping nor the laughter was sincere; and they, themselves, did not know what to think about death. Why? Because they had neither faith, nor hope, nor love of God.
Our heart is also a door…
Imagine that in the present circumstances, Jesus entered modern hospitals, ICUs and saw all those sick people lying in their beds. What would Jesus say when he saw the anguish and despair of the sick? How many would not want to get rid of all the equipment, confident that Jesus would heal them?
How many of them would do this not out of love for Jesus, but for their own “healing”? How many bodies still alive, but with dead souls, would be the object of consideration and healing by the Divine Master?
The liturgy makes us see and understand the departure from this earth not with worldly eyes; but with those of God.
We must prepare our hearts! For it is like the door that only has a knob on the inside; when Jesus knocks, it is we who will choose whether to open it or close it forever.
By Alfonso Costa
1] SAINT ALPHONSUS MARIA DE LIGUORI. Preparation for Death. Trad. José de Alencar. Edition by Fl. Castro, 2004, p. 16-17.
Compiled by Ena Alfaro