Fr. Bruce Krebs, Minot
Today is July 4, 2020 as I write this. I was in prayer this morning and it is hard not to think of our country on Independence Day especially as we go through some very dark times in our nation in terms of not only the coronavirus but also the division that infects our land so apparent between our two main political parties and now to make matters even worse the racial tensions resulting in rioting and looting that has been promoting a state of anarchy as the rioting groups insist on defunding local police departments. My prayer focused on Mt 9: 18-26. It is the story of Jesus curing the hemorrhaging woman who had suffered from this affliction for a dozen years. Jesus’ miraculous healing of this woman is sandwiched between the beginning and ending of another miracle story of Jesus, raising a synagogue official’s daughter from death. Both people approached Jesus in a state of total desperation. It is evident that each of them is out of options for finding what they need. The synagogue leader certainly did not have a list of people he could ask to raise up his dead daughter. And according to Mark, the woman had run out of options (and money) at seeking a cure for her physical problem which was a social problem as well, since a Jew with a hemorrhage was considered unclean and would not only make anyone unclean whom she touched, but would also be excluded from worship in the synagogue.
What made their healing possible was their approach of Jesus with a humble but great faith. Both believed Jesus could help them. The synagogue official expressed such faith in humbling himself by kneeling before Jesus and begging him to lay his hand on his daughter that she might live. When Jesus did arrive, he fulfilled his request by taking her by the hand and raising her to life, which was his greatest miracle up to this point.
The woman’s faith is apparent by what Mark tells us she was thinking, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.” In her humility, she was hoping to not disturb Jesus or his plans by not attracting any attention. But Jesus, realizing power had gone out of him, turned and saw the woman and assured her it was alright saying, “Courage daughter. Your faith has saved you.”
It was hard not to make the connection between the plight of these two recipients of Jesus saving help in their desperation with the desperation many of us are feeling in our nation at the current time.
Like me you probably thought we who live in the most powerful country in the world are very safe and secure. Now with all that is happening our faith in our governing system and our medical system have been shaken. We watch the news and can leave feeling anger and desperation at what we see happening. If we are honest we have to admit we cannot expect President Trump to save us, or former Vice President Joe Biden to save us or Nancy Pelosi or Former President Barack Obama. I have to wonder if we have aborted the one whom God was providing to give the leadership our country presently needs. But never-the-less I believe God is allowing us to experience this time of desperation which is not so different from what the two figures of our scripture passage experienced. We cannot forget that God has indeed sent us a Savior if we but turn to him in humility and strong faith. For Jesus was not sent only for his time 2000 years ago but for all time if people but humble themselves and approach him with expectant faith.
If you are like me it is so easy to look at all the people who are not praying or attending church and say no wonder our country is in such a mess. But I know I have no control over what that guy or the other guy does. I do have control over my own choices, however, and I know I am called to pray for our land and our leaders. I am reminded too, that sometimes situations became so big, so desperate that the situation requires more than prayer but also fasting. Now I don’t like to fast any more than anyone else but I can’t remember a more desperate time in my 69 years than now and I believe desperate times call for desperate measures. I have made a commitment to give up some small thing I enjoy to add power to my own prayers for our nation.
If you think I a pessimist, I am not. I am filled with hope which stems from my faith in Jesus and what I know he can do. Yes, we do have a SAVIOR and there are many true believers in this land. Besides praying and fasting I will be rejoicing because we do have someone available to help us in desperate times. Let us rejoice because there is reason to have hope for our land and His name is Jesus. If you google: “The Surrender Novena: Let Jesus Take Care of Everything,” you’ll find a nine-day prayer structure that gives me much peace.