July 8th

Saint of the Day – July 8th

Saint Gregory Grassi and Companions

 

Matthew 9:18-26
Friends, the centerpiece of our Gospel today is the story of the hemorrhaging woman. To get at the power of the Gospel, we have to reacquaint ourselves with the Jewish attitudes regarding the clean and the unclean. In the book of Leviticus we find carefully laid out prescriptions dealing with animals, plants, foods, and situations that are unclean. These prescriptions were meant to identify the Jewish people as a people. But they had a rather severe downside, since they placed certain people in extremely difficult situations.

Having a flow of blood for twelve years meant that for that entire period the woman in our Gospel was a virtual pariah. Anyone with whom she came in contact would be considered unclean. She couldn’t participate in the ordinary life of her society.

She touches Jesus and should have rendered him unclean. But so great is her faith that her touch, instead, renders her clean. Jesus effectively restores her to full participation in her community.

The most important outcome is this: Jesus implicitly puts an end to the ritual code of Leviticus. The identity of the new Israel, the Church, would not be through ritual behaviors but through imitation of him.

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Tuesday July 2nd

 

download (1).jpgMatthew 8:23-27

During the storm, Jesus’ disciples cried out to the Lord in desperation: “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” This is a de profundis prayer. Do you know the de profundis prayer? It comes from Psalm 130: “Out of the depths, I have cried to you, O Lord. O Lord, be attentive to the voice of my pleading.” It is the prayer offered at the darkest times of life, when we feel utterly incapable of helping ourselves.
Perhaps there are some people reading this right now who feel themselves in this precise situation. Perhaps you’re reading these words from your hospital bed where you are recovering painfully from surgery, or where you’ve just received some devastating news. Perhaps you find yourself caught in a terrible, unrelenting depression. Maybe you’ve just lost a loved one, and you’re awash in a sea of grief.
If that’s you, then pray as the disciples did. Awaken someone who can help. Jesus sleeping in the midst of the storm is a very powerful symbol of God’s sovereignty over even the darkest and most difficult trials that life throws at us.