Heart speaks to Heart

06-27-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

The section of the Bible in the Old Testament called the "Wisdom Literature" actually offers a lot of wisdom and insights for us who live today. Just because much of what is written in the Wisdom Books is from well over two millennia ago, it does not mean it lacks meaning and power for us now. We often dismiss our scripture as dusty and irrelevant and look to the scripture of other religions that are as old as our Judeo-Christian tradition. I often think we do this because these writings appear to be exotic and distant, and anything that is different and from far away often appeals more to many folk.

Among the many Old Testament books, the Book of Wisdom was written just a short time before the birth of Jesus. Among its many themes is this: God does not "rejoice in the destruction of the living... The creatures of the world are wholesome..." Our passage this weekend is actually a reflection on the life and death of the human soul. This particular reading skips the sections about people who think there is nothing after you die and that you should just eat, drink, and be merry until you die. Our passage tells us that this materialistic view has it all wrong, that in fact we are imperishable because there is no death of interior human spirit made in God's image.

We know from the Gospel story of this weekend and in general that Jesus does not rejoice in the destruction of the living. His sacred presence and divine touch bring life. Our Gospel passage this week has a miracle occur within a miracle. An official begs Jesus to come to his home because his much loved little daughter is deathly ill. Jesus goes with this man and on the way a strange woman's need overcomes her fear. She reaches out simply to "touch" his garment. She is suddenly and completely cured. Even though great crowds crush upon Jesus, the woman is discovered. She then confesses her faith and Jesus declares that her faith cured her. He tells her so that everyone can hear that she is to go on her way forever freed from the source of illness and sin.

Then the little child, too, is awakened from either a deep and deadly sleep or from death itself; we do not really know. The outcome is the same for she is cured. She then is given food at the request of Jesus which is a sign that she is well and alive.

These miracles of Jesus are of Him touching people as they reach out to Him. Despite that He was breaking the Holy Law, he helped and healed them. He chose life. He did all this out of compassion for the people.

Are you aware that the Way of Compassion is so clearly found as the ideal in the Book of Wisdom and that in this Gospel passage it is seen in the generous companionship and actions of Jesus as he walks with the desperately worried Jairus and the equally desperate woman? This is how Jesus wins hearts. This is how heart speaks to heart in life.