Tuesday, February 04, 2014

In You I Will Live

Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

By Beth DeCristofaro

Joab was told that the king was weeping and mourning for Absalom; and that day’s victory was turned into mourning for the whole army when they heard that the king was grieving for his son.  (2 Samuel 19:2-3)

(The synagogue official said to Jesus) “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” … (A woman who suffered from hemorrhages whispered), “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”  (Mark 5:23, 28)

Preserve my life, for I am devoted;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God (Psalm 86:2)

Years ago I witnessed a miracle.  I was chaplain on call at St. John’s Hospital when I received a summons to the ICU because a patient was dying.  The patient’s surgeon was there.  He gently, kindly explained to her family and Pastor that their mother, grandmother, great-grandmother would most certainly succumb very soon to the heart ailment which had disabled her for years.   Her Pentecostal Pastor gathered all of us around her bed to pray.  His impassioned prayer invoked the strength of Jesus upon Sister and entreated the Lord to heal her.  It was a little startling to me because I had never heard such imploring in the form of prayer before.  Lo and Behold, Sister’s breathing began to ease, the monitors showed her heartbeat slow and she began to interact with family.  Praise Be Jesus!  Sister was discharged for home several days later.

In the readings today we have the stories of people touched by death.  David’s son rebelled against him yet David was bereft at his killing.  Jairus and the ill woman’s desperation was held at bay by hope and the Lord rewarded their faith. 

Our very human, God-given love is such a powerful, awesome, marvelous gift.  Love embraces us through the comfort and care of others in good times and bad.  Faith underpins love.  Our faith sustains us that God is always here for us.  Our human love causes us to do great things for each other and to hurt desperately when it is time to die although our faith tells us that death is how we meet God face to face.  David, Joab, Jairus, his daughter, the ill woman and Sister are all long dead today.  Most likely their loved ones denied, experienced anger, bargained and cried at their passing.  But they passed into their rightful home and the Lord has indeed “Preserved their lives”.

Take the time to consider that death will come to you.  In what ways are you or your loved ones prepared?  You can help them better face your earthly end by talking about and writing down your health care choices before there is a serious illness or terminal situations.  The Diocese has wonderful resources available for download to begin the conversation, download advanced medical directives, answer questions and assist in making choices that respect the sanctity of life and in are accord with Church teaching.    http://arlingtondiocese.org/respectlife/index.aspx   Give your loved ones a gift that can ease difficult decision-making as my father and father-in-law both did for their families.  Free hearts to love and grieve as Jesus did for his loved friend Lazarus even as spirits soar as you are “cured” of this lifespan to live with God.

No comments: