Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are shown through the readings from the Sacred Scriptures and the Gospel that our Lord and God is merciful and kind, loving and forgiving, but as long as we have faith in us. And not just any faith, but faith that is both real, concrete and living. That faith in us cannot be artificial or just for show, or otherwise, it will be dead, just as faith without works is dead.
Our Lord Jesus in the Gospel today healed two people, a woman who had suffered from terrible haemorrhage for the past twelve years, and the daughter of an influential man in the society. Both of them were saved and made whole again because of their faith, and the woman was healed from the bleeding while the daughter was brought back to life from the gates of death.
The woman believed in the Lord so much and had such a great faith in Him, that she fervently believed that just by touching the very fringe of His cloak, she would be made whole. Certainly she was afraid of going public with her illness, for a woman to have such a bad bleeding for many years would be considered by others as the woman having a curse from God. Thus, she secretly touched the fringe of Jesus’ cloak, with sincere hope in her heart that she would be healed.
Meanwhile, the daughter of the influential man was brought back to life because of the sincere faith of her father, who begged Jesus in public to come and heal his daughter. Influential as he was in the society, it was out of the norm for him to beg publicly for such a favour from the Lord Jesus. And yet, that was what he had done. He was so filled with faith in the Lord’s power that he lowered himself to beg before the Lord of all, to heal his daughter and make her whole again.
In both cases, we see two different conditions, of two different peoples, who were made whole, both by their faith. It is their genuine faith and devotion to the Lord which moved the Lord to make them whole again and cleanse them from their afflictions. Their faith was not just an empty faith, and they were willing to go the extra mile to profess that faith.
Indeed, had the woman with bleeding not have such a strong faith, she would not have braved the great crowds pushing around Jesus. She must have been in a lot of pain, and yet she braved herself to make the journey to meet Jesus. And afraid as she was, she came clean and confessed what she had done before Jesus, showing her genuine faith, and she was praised by Him for what she had in her.
The influential man journeyed to see Jesus personally and begged Him to bring his daughter back to life. He could have just sent a servant or tell another person to call Jesus to his house. But he did not do so, and rather, he took the extra mile to meet the Lord personally and humbled himself before Him to ask for that great favour. He had complete faith in the power of Jesus, and his wish was granted.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we see these two examples, as examples we can follow in our own lives, and in how we live our faith. As St. Paul in his epistle to the Church and the faithful in Philippi mentioned that in our world, there are many who do not follow the way of Christ. It is the same now as it was then, and many considered themselves as the enemies of Christ.
And it was mentioned that their god is their belly, and what does this mean? It means that rather than having faith in God, like the woman with bleeding and the influential man, they put their trust in themselves, and their ego and pride clouded everything else. Their desire is their master and not God. They follow what their hearts’ desires lead them to, and more often than not, it leads them to destruction and damnation.
It is a way and fate that all of us who have faith in God certainly want to avoid. Certainly none of us want to end up in hell, is it not? All of us want to be saved, but the problem is that many of us do not have the resolve or the idea of how to ensure this is what happens and not our condemnation. And many of us want to remain in our present state, continuing to sin before God and oppose Him, and what is at stake is none other than the state of our soul.
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is up to us now, from now on, to choose out path in life. Are we content with our way of life now, and do we consider what we do now as something that is good and just before God? Or are they things abhorrent in the sight of God? We have a clear choice, brethren, and we must no longer wait. Remember, that the coming of the Lord is not known to us in terms of time, and when He comes again, we may be caught unprepared if we do not do exactly as what He had asked us to do.
And how do we prepare ourselves then? It is by following the examples of the woman with bleeding and the man whose daughter was dead, and also the examples of the many holy saints and peoples of God. All of them have faith in the Lord, and not just any faith, but a living and concrete faith. Yes, faith that is not just mere words or empty in meaning, but also a faith founded and substantiated with love.
And how do we love then? By loving those who are around us regardless of who they are, what their backgrounds are, and regardless of whether they have benefitted or caused us pain before. We must love all equally without bias. Let us also love those like the woman with bleeding, namely those who suffer and who are in need, that our faith is truly a living faith.
Lastly, of course most important of all, we have to love the Lord our God with all our hearts and our strengths. In this, we have to look at the resolve of the woman with bleeding. We have to have strong faith in the Lord, and hope in Him, for in Him is our salvation. We have to therefore be like the woman, who went all the way with hope that her affliction may be healed.
We have all been afflicted too, brothers and sisters in Christ, with the affliction of sin, that is the disease of the soul. Our Lord Jesus Christ had come into the world to heal us sinners from our afflictions. And therefore, all of us should from now on cling ourselves to He who healed us, and together, let us all be reunited perfectly with our Lord and Master in love. May Almighty God bless us all, love us tenderly and give us His grace always, till the end of time. Amen.