Homily: "We need to be beacons of hope"
By Mons. Peter Jeffrey:
Beacons of HOPE... “People of HOPE” – that is our identity as people baptised into Christ. In today’s atmosphere, we need to be BEACONS of Hope.
I want to explore this a little. I am convinced that Witnesses of HOPE are critical, desperately needed, in our time. It has been in the press that health and legal experts have been appointed to oversee “Assisted Dying”. They are to study and then decide on every EUTHANASIA request. This flows from an attitude that says we are masters of our own destiny. An increasing number of our contemporaries do not see Life as a divine gift. Then as a people baptised into Christ, we appreciate that we are living temples of the Holy Spirit and destined to share in His Risen Glory.
Today’s 1st reading has been chosen to give background to the message of the Gospel today which is that Jesus’ saving power can dominate death itself . That pass from the book of Wisdom is amazing when you realise that it came from the middle of the first century before Christ – amazing in the sense that it refers to an eternal life “Yet God made man imperishable - He made him in the image of His own nature”
In this Saturday’s Spectrum section of the Age, Anson Cameron, who comes from Shepparton, speaks about the struggle so many contemporary agnostics have to face the reality of death when health declines. They say to themselves “Is this it? The one death you never quite believe
Many of our contemporaries do not believe in a future-life, so it is understandable that “instant gratification and just living in the present moment in the fast lane” becomes the way of operating.
To be “people of Hope” conscious of the GIFT or virtue of Hope can shape the way we live our own lives now and influence how we see our eternal destiny.
Think about the Gospel passage from Mark that we just heard. Many may think about it as two accounts of earthly healing – that of Jairus’ daughter and of the woman with the haemorrhage. In both people, however, Jesus is leading them to a deeper faith – faith in Him as one who could raise from the dead.
There is an important lesson here for us. We are to grow in the recognition of the fact that faith in Jesus can transform life now! It also, and importantly, promises victory over death whenever that may occur. That compact Gospel ‘pericope’ outlines a transformation – the change occurs both for Jairus and in the woman. They come to a faith in Him in the midst of the general unbelief which pervades the crowd. Both of them can be great models for us in our contemporary Australian society! As disciples of Jesus, we are to recognise that faith in Him will transform our life now and it is also an assurance of victory over death.
However, and this is the challenge, like Jairus on behalf of his daughter and the woman with the haemorrhage, which had lasted for twelve years, we must come to Jesus. We must seek Him out. We must kneel at His feet – not abjectly but with earnest prayer for our own needs and those of our loved ones!
If we do that, gradually we will find this will lead to humble thankfulness because Jesus will give to the one who believes in Him as the Resurrection and the Hope of everlasting Glory an inner peace. It will be for that person of faith, a peace the world cannot give. It will also be an assurance for each and all of us that there is life with God beyond death.
While we come to this Eucharist with our needs – praying for self and others – we are also conscious that our Mass is also a pledge of future glory.
*This is a copy of Mons' Homily of the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2018 (01/0/2018)