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  Word To Life


Sunday Scripture Readings, July 1, 2012

By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service

July 1, Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle B. Readings:

1) Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24

Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13

2) 2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15

Gospel: Mark 5:21-43

Through a series of bad decisions, Jay found himself sucked into a culture of illegal activity. He didn't know he was being watched by law enforcement authorities. One frightening evening, police barged into his home, confiscated evidence and arrested him. He saw his successful, happy life go down the tubes.

Jay was ashamed and remorseful. He admitted that what he had done was wrong. He never denied that his behavior was immoral and against the law. He knew his choices deeply hurt his family.

After the initial shock wore off, he began to see the black hole in front of him. He faced lengthy jail time in a state with meager resources and little interest in rehabilitating convicted criminals.

As the time to serve his sentence approached, the voice of the once-confident young professional quavered. He saw no hope ahead: "My career is gone and by the time I get out, all my experience, education, skills will be useless. I'll have nothing to offer."

He started to enumerate the reasons for his despair. His wife interrupted with plans for how, while he serves time, she would prepare for his future return. His neighbor chimed in with other helpful suggestions.

In today's Gospel passage, shortly after a synagogue official asks Jesus to heal his daughter, the child apparently dies. When Jesus offers the hope that she is only asleep, people ridicule him. He sends them out explaining, "Just have faith." The child lives.

The reading from Wisdom shows faith in God's healing can be found in understanding that he has a fundamental desire that the life he created will not die.

"God did not make death," Wisdom states, "nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. ... God formed man to be imperishable."

Likewise, Jay's wife and friend had faith in the value of his life and its renewal after jail. They would not allow his lack of faith to dispel theirs. They insisted that he live with hope for a new life ahead.

QUESTIONS:

When have you despaired about the future? How does faith that God created human life to be imperishable help you deal with life-and-death issues?

SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:

"Do not be afraid; just have faith." -- Mark 5:36

END



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