A homily for the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time
After ridiculing the Creation story and the doctrine of Original Sin in the Bible last week, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ended by saying, “Who is this stupid God? This son of a b**** is then really stupid.” Understandably, his words have elicited lots of critical and condemnatory responses, both locally and internationally.
As people of faith, let us go deeper and do some self-reflection on these painful and unwarranted words. Let us first ask ourselves, honestly, if we haven’t at one point or another in our lives acted as if God was stupid and clueless? Doesn’t our hopeless worries in life betray our lack of trust in His divine wisdom in the face of difficult and painful situations? Don’t we give up easily when we just cannot understand the ways of God? Haven’t we had to say something like this to God in a moment of desperate prayer, “God, what are you doing? Can’t you see what I am going through? You are not being fair! Why are you allowing this in my life?” Yes, we may not say outright that “God is stupid” but sometimes our thoughts and attitudes have shown that we do not completely trust in His judgments or ways of acting in our lives and in our world.
Today’s Second Reading tells us about the divine wisdom behind Jesus’ gracious act, “Though He (Jesus) was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.” This is Divine wisdom in action, God laboring to make us rich; not rich in money, fame, success, pleasures, or material things; but rich in what endures and matters most – His own divine life. While remaining divine, Jesus humbled Himself and became one like us in all things except sin, chose to be born of the Virgin Mary, suffered a gruesome death on the Cross, rose from the grave, ascended into heaven, sent us His Holy Spirit, and founded a Church here on earth. He did all this for one single reason – to communicate the fullness of life to us in all times and places. In His words, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”(Jn 10:10) No, our God is not stupid in any way but He is a God of life who acts always to communicate to us His own divine life in ways that we could never even fathom.
The Gospel shows us Jesus, the God of life, in action. Every single thing about Jesus, beginning from His very person, is life-giving, “In Him was life.”(Jn 1:4)Jesus’ readiness to let go of the eager crowd and go to heal the dying daughter of Jarius shows His desire and readiness to bring healing to those who approach Him with faith. Even the clothes of Jesus Christ are life-giving if touched with faith. The hemorrhaging woman found this out from her experience when she touched His clothes, “Immediately her flow of blood dried up.” Even the words of Jesus are words that bring hope and healing, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” The touch of Jesus also restores and bestows life on one who is already dead, “He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha Koum… (And) she arose immediately and walked around.”
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we know and believe that our God is not stupid in any way but we have to let this truth affect our thinking and attitude in life.We must focus on the action of God who the Book of Wisdom states “fashioned all things that they might have being.” He who made us and gave us life, both natural and supernatural, is the only one who can heal and restore this spiritual life to us in this life and even raise us from the grave. Jesus Christ alone gives us that life that cannot be taken away from us and that endures even beyond the grave. He is not stupid but He acts to communicate this life to us every moment of our lives, even in the most mysterious, dark, and painful ways.
Actually, we are the ones who can act stupid. We act stupidly when we think or act as if there is someone or something out there that can bring us complete healing of our hearts. We are stupid when we think that some created things can somehow bring us interior satisfaction and contentment in this life apart from the love and mercy of God in Jesus Christ. We act stupid when we think that we know the best way for us to be healed and God has to dance to our own music and plan for healing. To think that we can heal and restore divine life in ourselves or that we know how God should heal us is true stupidity. Jesus said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.”(MK 2:17) We are the sick who need Him desperately and we must also accept the way and manner that He chooses to heal and restore His life to us.
We put an end to our stupidity when we come to realize deeply that only He who created and redeemed us by His blood can heal and restore us to His life in His own way that we could never understand or imagine. The hemorrhaging woman in today’s gospel abandoned such stupidity herself, having “suffered at the hands of many doctors and spent all that she had, yet she was not helped but grew worse.” She eventually did the wise thing and turned to touch the garments of Jesus with faith, believing that the Lord of life could heal her even through His garments, “If I but touch His clothes, I shall be cured.”
We too are challenged today to let go of that stupidity that seeks for our healing outside Christ and to be ready to touch Christ with faith in the many mysterious ways that He comes to us. We touch Christ with faith and allow Him to heal us whenever we lift our hearts in prayer. We touch Christ with faith in the Sacrament of Confession when we allow Him to heal the wounds of sin in our lives. We touch Christ with faith when we receive Him in Holy Communion and let Him renew our inner strength for battles to come. We touch Christ with faith whenever we choose to avoid any thing or person that will hinder His life in us. We touch Christ with faith when we give witness to Him by serving our brothers and sisters out of love for Him.
The garment of Jesus touched by the hemorrhaging woman with faith brought her instant healing. How much more powerful is the healing that is possible when we touch the sacred body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ in today’s Eucharist? There is absolutely no event or thing that Jesus will not use to offer us a deeper participation in His own life.
This is our God! He is not stupid in any way but He is the God of life, ever willing and ready to empty Himself completely so that we can be rich in His life through grace. Let us also empty ourselves of all form of stupid thinking and choose to act with wisdom, touch Him and remain united with Him by faith, and let Him reveal to us that He is always and everywhere our God of life.
Glory to Jesus!!! Honor to Mary!!!