13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B (2021)
Sunday, June 27, 2021
· It might come as a surprise to learn that it took our Church more than 400 years to finally decide on what books of the Old and New Testaments would make up the definitive, final edition of the Bible.
· There are many other spiritual books written before and after the life of Christ that had mass appeal and influence, but after careful discernment it was determined these writings contained errors and could not be considered as inspired by Holy Spirit.
· This 400-year discernment process should give us confidence that a lot of time, care, pray and study made sure that the books of the Bible are truly the Word of God and as such each of them offers important insights into the ways God wanted to reveal the fullness of His truth and wisdom to us to lead us onward to Eternal Life.
· In addition, each book, when studied in the time and context that it was written, gives us both insights into the pressing matters of that time and how these questions continue to be important, relevant and worthy of our attention in this day and age.
· The Book of Wisdom is of special importance in understanding the life and mission of Jesus Christ because many believe this book was written as little as 50 years before Christ was born in Bethlehem. This means the author was speaking of topics and questions that were very important to the people of Jesus’ time and were among the most essential teachings he would offer, yet his words were not just for the time in which He lived but continue to captivate and demand the attention of peoples of all time.
· Among the big questions that Book of Wisdom posed is why do we die and can the tragedy of death be overcome with a promise of unmatched hope? “God did not make death nor delight in the death of the living” That is an incredible statement! We realize death is a normal part of our existence, it occurs at every moment and no earthy power is able to prevent it from definitively occurring. Yet we learn that God did not will for death to be the natural course of things. He created all things to be eternal, to not know decay or the pain and separate of body and soul that death brings.
· The Book of Wisdom tells us death is due to the envy of the Devil who did not wish humanity, created in the image of God’s own eternity, to exist and so the plan to bring death in the world through the Sin of Adam and Eve was seen as the way to end the wonder of creation at its beginnings.
· But we know God had a plan to return immortality back into His creation, a plan that would involve the sending of His Son who Himself would taste the poison of death in order to bring it to an end.
· And so if the Book of Wisdom was written a mere 50 years before Jesus began to teach, He knew that among the burning questions on people’s hearts was would this supposed Messiah from the obscurity of Nazareth be able to provide a certain sign that He was the promised one, and not only that, could He bring a remedy to the tragedy we call death?
· “Talitha Cum, Little Girl, get up!” With those words, Jesus not only brought this little one from the icy grip of death to the freedom of new life, and life eternal, but in a sense he was taking both Adam and Eve by the hand that day, and all those who had died and will die, and said this is not the end of your story and existence, I will raise you up, I will restore you to life, I will promise you will be resurrected as I was resurrected, I promise if you believe in me, trust in me, and follow me, death will not be your final end, but the start of truly living forever.
· While Jesus performed many miracles that inspired people, from feeding the hungry to healing the sick, rising the dead was the miracle that showed He was the Way, the Truth and the Life and that He, and He alone, had solved the riddle of how to overcome death.
· In a past year when the fear of death has been a daily reality as we read of the numbers of those who died from COVID, not to mention the countless other infirmities and situations that caused people to die, it is pivotal we ask for a steadfast faith that Jesus can save us from death. Yes, we will die, but the Lord wants for us to have an unshakeable hope that eternal life awaits those who remain faithful to Him. Yes, many are afraid to die, and its ok to be so, because as the Book of Wisdom said today, we were made to live and death is not part of our original nature, but Christ provides the remedy for this fear by replacing it with a new hope.
· Talitha Cum! God wants to rise each of us up from the depths we experience, let us not be afraid to take Him daily by the hand.