13th Sunday in Ordinary Time - 1st July, 2018

Liturgical Reflection

 
Wisdom 1:13-14; Mark 5:24-34


The story was told of God weeping when he saw the Egyptians perishing as the Red Sea closed over them.                                                                                                                                                    “Why are you weeping?” he was asked.
God answered, “Because these too are my children and I love them.”

This story came to my mind when I read the opening lines of today’s first reading, from the Book of Wisdom.  God might say to all of us, “To be – for this I created you all.”

 
 
 

In the Gospel, Jesus says it differently to the woman with the haemorrhage.  She had heard of Jesus but could not approach him openly.  The very nature of her condition required discretion.  But what faith she had in him and his sacred person!  “If I can touch even his clothes,’ she had told herself, ‘I shall be well again.’  And how veiled was the healing gift Jesus extended to her: the story continues: “Immediately aware that power had gone out from him, Jesus turned around in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’  The woman was slow to own up, probably because of the delicacy of her situation.

We don’t hear much about sacramentals these days, do we?  It’s a pity.  In the Church’s rituals, those occasions involving material objects or actions – ashes, palms, candles, blessing of Throats, etc, - seem to draw people out of the woodwork.  In today’s story, surely Jesus’s clothes take on sacramental features.  I’d like to suggest that we, ourselves, might also be sacramental go-betweens, drawing to Jesus, those who are restrained by feelings of unworthiness, or like this woman, embarrassment.  In such encounters, there is a place for sacramental objects or actions – the imposing of hands with a blessing, blessing their children, giving cards with prayers or scripture.

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, speaking of the Sacraments and sacramentals, has this to say:

The liturgy means also that there is hardly any proper use of material things that cannot thus be directed toward human sanctification and the praise of God.  (CSL Article 61)

The liturgy means also that there is hardly any proper use of material things that cannot thus be directed toward human sanctification and the praise of God.  (CSL Article 61)

Let us end as we began, with the book of Wisdom:

"To be - for this He created all;                                the world's created things have health in them...  God made us in the image of his own nature."

Sr Helen Ryan OP