My daughter has just died … Mt 9.18
What do you say? Wouldn’t our life change if we believed, but really believed, in eternal life? It seems that our attitude towards the values of life would be completely different, and we would probably be different too! In many ways, therefore, the books of the New Testament try to reinforce our belief in life after death. The text of today’s Gospel about the resurrection of the daughter has this purpose. Why is this so necessary? We encounter human death all the time, but we do not encounter the creative power of God that gives new life beyond bodily death in this life. We encounter the care of God in this world. Why would He not take care of us in His kingdom as well?
We only hear seriously about “life after life” in the pages of Holy Scripture. Paradoxically, this is why it is not easy for us to believe in eternal life, to rely on it. Who should be more trustworthy to us than Jesus? So let’s look carefully today at what is said here about the life and death of the risen daughter. What the Lord says here about each of us.
“Hope, daughter, your faith has made you well.” Says the Lord to the woman, but it was true for the father as well. Don’t be frightened by the painful events of sickness and human death. Don’t let it take away your faith that the connection with the eternal God that was made in our lifetime will endure even in death. This, then, is the first thing that is required of us with regard to death: trust in God. Faith is the prerequisite for the wonder of the resurrection. Faith is the condition of passage into a new, eternal life. To believe is to reckon with the eternal God even at the threshold of death. To believe that our dead are – and we too will one day be – in the light of God, having believed in God in our lifetime.
What does the Lord Jesus do and say next? Then when Jesus came to the house of the leading man and saw the whistle blowers and the excited crowd, He said: “Depart! The girl is not dead, but asleep.” The Lord Jesus sees the dead as God sees him. “Sleep” is a figurative name for the mysterious transition between life and death. Healing sleep. That is why the Lord Jesus does something incredible. Get up! Wake up from death! Later, the Lord Jesus will experience the same thing for himself – at Easter dawn, when he rises from the tomb.
And now, already believing in the life-giving power of God, he calls the dead daughter to life. This quickening word sounds to our dead too! It will be sounded one day to us and to all who believe in Jesus by seeking to live according to his gospel. To the general amazement, the girl woke up, and came back to life. After such a feat, we would expect some proclamation from Jesus, a lofty declaration, “So you see who I am!” And those present would have deserved to have him triumph over them, for they had mocked him a moment before. He drives them all out, he does it in secret if possible.
We know from the evangelist Mark that he preached to the resurrected girl to give her something to eat. The Lord takes care of her. Food, to eat, is a basic need of our lives. He takes care of us, too. He gives us the Eucharistic meal to eat, so that in its power we too may live. Live forever. This is how our Lord wants it. And this is the core, the message of faith of today’s Gospel: that God is a friend of life, not of death. The last thing before us is not death, but life. Can this be believed? It is, well, unimaginable. We have the advantage because the Lord Jesus, who declared of Himself, “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believed in me shall never die, he shall live forever,” is risen from the dead. Let us now pray together: “Lord, I believe – help my unbelief!”
Let Women Speak in the Church The First Letter to the Corinthians uncompromisingly recommends, “Let women be silent in the assemblies” (1 Cor 14:34). Salesian Zdeněk Jančařík paraphrases this statement in the title
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