Memorial of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr

Heb 12:1-4; Ps 22:26-28;30-32;Mk 5:21-43:  The gathering of those who fear the Lord is the only place we are at home celebrating our vows.  Indeed, we praise the LORD because we long for the LORD. The lowly woman in today’s gospel received healing from the Lord Jesus.  All who seek the LORD shall praise him with full voice; indeed, their hearts shall be ever merry!  Anyone who turns to the LORD finds mercy, compassion and healing.  In his own time, which is always the right time, kingdom time, the LORD lifts up the lowly, all who sleep in the earth.  Indeed, all the families of the nations bow down before him. In him our souls shall live; our descendants shall serve him.  Indeed, for the sake of the joy that lay before him, the Lord Jesus endured the cross, despising its shame and taken to seat at the right hand of God.  This is our desired means and goal, the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If we only knew about the great cloud of witnesses, we would not hesitate to rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us. If we could only see the dense crowd of saints gone on before us, we would run even faster while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. All we need is eyes of faith to behold the household of saints and angels who surround us and urge us on in the race to heaven. For the sake of the joy that lay before us, for the sake of the bliss of heavenly glory we gladly join the Lord Jesus. We freely embrace the mystery of the cross, despising its shame, and take our seat at the right of the throne of God. We can expect to endure the opposition of sinners; we will encounter the wrath of those who are challenged by our virtue. When we refuse to join our companions in the usual vices and sins, they will hate us. When our old buddies do not understand our desire to grow in holiness, we can easily grow weary and lose heart. At such moments we must turn again and fix our eyes upon the Crucified and realize that our struggle against sin has not yet given us the opportunity to witness by shedding our blood. Perhaps, soon and very soon, the LORD will give us the call to join him completely. Then and only then will our joy be complete!

Miracles abound in the lives of the saints. Their lives are lived in the power of the Holy Spirit, and they continue the ministry of compassion of the Lord Jesus. Once a man was being prayed over for a healing and he said, “I don’t expect miracles.” Those praying said, “we expect miracles.” His painful response was, “that’s easy for you to say.” In faith they invited him by saying, “you too can join us in faith because nothing is impossible for God.” The desperate mother in the miracle at the time of Saint Blasé, the daughter of Jairus, and the woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years all had desperate situations. It was faith in the healing power of Christ that enabled the mother, the father, and the victim to plead for a miracle. We need this kind of faith. These three desperate people teach us how to plead with faith. Indeed, we learn to approach the Lord Jesus expecting him to take us by the hand and rise us up or at least let us grasp his cloak. It is our contact with the Lord Jesus that provides us with the healing we need, even if we don’t know what that need may be. He always cares for us in the way we most need his care. Coming close to the Lord Jesus, touching him and being touched by him is the greatest miracle of faith. This is the miracle for which we most long. This is the miracle that changes everything. Just as the Lord Jesus commanded the family to give the healed girl something to eat, so we are nourished with the Bread of Life. This, too, is a miracle in response to our fervent prayer, “give us this day our daily bread.”