JULY 1, 2012; 13TH SUNDAY; MARK 5:21-43.



At this Eucharist we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Brother Brian’s solemn vows. We join him with thanksgiving to God for the many years of dedicated service and of prayer that his life among us continues to contribute to the life of our community and of the whole Church.  Today’s Gospel fittingly brings to our attention that the word of Christ, pronounced with love, remains the source of such a life that witnesses to the new life that is the fruit of the Word of God, addressed to the human heart.  Our Gospel tells us that our Lord, out of compassion, traveled to the bedside of a young girl, recently deceased to the overwhelming distress of her father.  The Lord, St. Mark tells us entered the room where she lay unconscious and HE TOOK HER BY THE HAND AND SAID: TALITHA QUMI., that is “Little girl, rise up.” Saint Paul tells us that Jesus is the “wisdom and the power of God” (1 Cor 1:25).  In today’s Gospel he allows us to observe that he uses his power in the service of love and life. Further, he makes it clear that the measure of his power is not bounded by the limits imposed by nature. Nature itself is subject to stringent laws that are so consistently applicable that the various sciences can predict the future of natural processes in many instances, with confident accuracy. Astronomers, to name but a single if impressive example, inform the public well in advance the precise time an eclipse of the sun will occur so that we can prepare ourselves for its occurrence. The wisdom that Jesus possessed, as Saint Mark allows us to learn in this particular instance, enables him confidently to overrule the messengers who urged the father of the young girl not to trouble the teacher for it was too late.  She had died, they reported. Our Lord, far from accepting with dismay this news as putting and end to his involvement in the case, encourages the father to stand by his faith and exercise a firm trust. He gives no indication of doubt as to his ability to restore the daughter to her distraught father. The issue validates his own unshakeable, quiet conviction that, even though the girl be dead, he can bring her to life and restore her to her father, a man of love and of strong faith.


Mark was not content to give even so remarkable a proof of Jesus possessing such power that transcended death. He narrates, as it were in passing, another healing of which the Lord Jesus is the physical instrument in a manner that evidences a feature of his divine power that is nothing less than astonishing. Simply by touching the hem of his cloak in the firm persuasion that contact with the Lord’s garment would bring a healing power, a woman found healing from a  uterine hemorrhages the doctors of her day could not cure. The unusual feature of this miraculous healing is the fact that it took place simply through physical contact that was an expression of faith. No conscious, deliberate act or word of Jesus gave rise to such a spontaneous healing that surpassed the workings of nature. The very body of Jesus is so energized by a divine power that it imparts a superior force even to his cloak. It is lively faith that gives access to this power that resides in the body of Christ The power of God in his Incarnate Son has entered into our world of time and become available for our healing if only we act with a boldly firm faith in him as our Savior;


The science of Astronomy has proved capable of making surprising discoveries about our universe that were hidden from human knowledge in past ages. We now know that all the matter observable with our most powerful instruments represents only 4.7% of its contents. 22% is dark matter and 73% dark energy. There is evidence that these so-called dark realities exist and exert an influence that is observable but whose intrinsic nature is such as to evade direct perception. Modern science is aware of a dimension even of the material cosmos that accustoms us to the real existence of a reality that surpasses the operations of our senses. We can only infer its existence but not know its nature, though eventually such understanding may be attained, The message of today’s Gospel proclaims that in the Incarnation of the Word of God there is an energy come into this world of ours that is available to us. As it does not originate in this world of time it is accessed only by a living faith that, as Paul notes in his Letter to the Romans, is the energy of a divine love. Though like dark physical energy, it is invisible to the senses, we can profit from it by a lively, trusting faith in the incarnate Son of God. Saint Mark portrays for us in this liturgy the example of two persons, each faced with a situation deprived of human hope. One a desperate father of a recently deceased young daughter, the other is this seriously ill woman without hope of human help. Each discovers by intimate, personal experience that in the word and touch of Jesus, the love of God becomes a source of healing power present and active for those who by faith come to know that Christ is in all truth the wisdom and the power of God. It is this power that becomes active in our midst as we offer the Risen Christ to the eternal and omnipotent Father at this Eucharist. &

Abbot John Eudes Bamberger

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