June 28, 2009


Do not be afraid; just have faith. – Mk 5: 36


   A college alumnus went back to his Alma Mater for a 20th year class reunion. He dropped in to see his old math professor & was amazed to discover that the examination questions that year were the same ones his class had received. “Doesn’t this present a problem?” he asked the professor. “Doesn’t each class pass the questions on to the next class?” “Yes, they do that,” the professor said, “But it’s no problem because every year now we change all the answers.”


   That’s the way it is these days. All the answers are changing. The thing you build your life on today you suddenly discover tomorrow is all wrong because of some new evidence, some new discovery. These are times of convulsive change. Things are moving so fast that people are confused &, even worse, they are giving up hope. Many self-proclaimed physicians of the spirit (like the physicians of the body in today’s Gospel) are only making matters worse.

   “Do not be afraid; just have faith,” says our Lord. What He’s trying to tell us is that the war against despair has been won. But saying this is not enough. We need to translate this Good News into real life situations, & nothing less than the great leap of faith can translate these words in a way that gives meaning to our lives. If we would bring to others the same Good News that propelled our great leap of faith, mere words are not enough. Love is necessary.

   Kissing a child’s boo-boo doesn’t help the pain, it helps the loneliness; & pain comes in all shapes & sizes, not just the physical variety. Pain & loneliness are often co-companions. Healing is more than recovery from illness, & the healing that comes from faith is more than physical. The Good News of God’s concern for us is communicated from person-to-person through our love for one another.

   Lorenzo Di Medici was one of the better members of the famous (sometimes infamous) Di Medici family of Florence in Italy . He lived in the 16th century, & was called “the Magnificent” because he knew how to throw grand parties. He would stage huge pageants & public spectacles at religious festivals, & all the people of the city would become involved in the celebration. Once, he decided to stage the pageant of Pentecost in one of the city’s great churches. He liked realism in his drama, so he arranged for a system of wires & pulleys coming down from the ceiling so that, at a given time, real fire would come swooshing down. Unfortunately, the stunt backfired. As the great pageant unfolded, the fire came swooshing down right on cue. But it brushed against some flimsy stage hangings, igniting them, & the church burned to the ground.


   Too bad about the accident, but the symbolism is striking. When the fire of the Holy Spirit hits this world of ours, a lot of outmoded structures burn to the ground. God is constantly bringing new things into being to fulfill His purposes. Very often, it takes a great leap of faith to trust in them. We especially need to trust in God in times of convulsive change, when faith can not only cure us, but others as well.  AMEN!