Hosea 2:16, 17c-18, 21-22; Matthew 9:18-26
I find that the woman suffering hemorrhages for all those years often gets overlooked in this or that reflection, so here’s an attempt at offering one.
What might “hemorrhage” mean in our day and time, more than the medical diagnosis? What human experiences might it refer to?
Zechariah 9:9-10 | Romans 8:9, 11-13 | Matthew 11:25-30
Children who wish to be learned and clever, wise and understanding, will not cease to ask questions, will want to learn, and will want to change for the better. And if they ever stop asking questions then there is the danger – I use the word advisedly – that they will have grown up. There is the danger that now they think that they know it all, that they don’t need to ask questions, that nobody has anything to teach them, and that they don’t need to change. And then these “grown-ups”, thinking that there is no limit to their learning, cleverness, wisdom and understanding, go and do something stupid and damaging.
Amos 9:11-15; Matthew 9:14-17
The Old Way and the New (Mt 9:14-17)
In today’s Gospel, Matthew narrates a wonderful episode in which Jesus targets Pharisaical legalism with three sharp metaphors. The disciples of John the Baptist had come to ask Jesus, “How come we and the Pharisees fast a lot, but your disciples don't fast at all?"
Jesus responds with His first metaphor: "Wedding guests can't fast as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But sooner or later the bridegroom will be taken away from them. They will fast then, all right!" He is the bridegroom and His guests make up His Kingdom on earth, the People of God. He’s telling them that this “wedding” is a time for joy and celebration, not fasting! He is also saying that He, His teaching, and the “Way” He is proposing cannot be judged by the old, traditional standards rigidly adhered to by the one's asking, “Why don’t your followers fast?”
Ephesians 2:19-22; John 20:24-29
"I'll never believe it without probing the nailprints in his hands, without putting my finger in the nailmarks and my hand into his side."
"You became a believer because you saw me. Blest are they who have not seen and have believed."
All of us have been "doubting Thomases" at one time or another in our lives. Thomas had an "excuse" for his dis-belief: he didn't see it. The evidence wasn't there. We've all been there. For Thomas then, for us now, it is easy to fall into the simple error of thinking, "Seeing is believing." By God's grace, we come to a real faith - based not on evidence, but on a gifted experience.
Amos 8:4-6.9-12; Mt 9:1-8
I imagine what I would be thinking and feeling had I been a bystander watching the events unfold as told in Matthew 9: 1-8. A paralytic on a stretcher who rises and walks away after hearing Jesus say, "Courage, child, your sins are forgiven. Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home." Upon which the man rises and goes home.
This gospel story has much that is unusual about it; there is, for example, quite some question even about where this place actually is. As it stands in the lectionary, Jesus seems to arrive here alone or with companions who play no role in what happens, and there is no teaching, no healing, no forgiveness, no apparent religious outcome, and no conversation with the men who are the victims of the demons. The whole center of the story is that Jesus appears, the demons approach Jesus and make a request, and Jesus responds to them positively. At that point Jesus and the formerly possessed (and probably pagan) men virtually disappear from the narrative.
We all can relate to today’s Gospel. Storms and raging seas—of every kind and description—are a part of our experiences.
Key action in the Gospel is what happens between the beginning of the “violent storm” and the “great calm.” The disciples, of course, are scared to death, they wake Jesus and shout: “Lord, save us. We are perishing.” Once he is alert Jesus not only rebukes the wind and the seas, but he also rebukes his followers when Jesus addresses them as “You of little faith.”
Not as a prize for saying the correct answer, but as an affirmation and ordination, Peter is called to be the”Foundation” person among the “called”. The word we use for “church”, which is taken from the Greek, means “those who gather together because they have heard something which calls them together”. Peter is named to be the chief caller. In a sense he is called to be a caller. He became the first person of the Church and so defines what the Church is.
He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it. "He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me. He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward."
Meditation: Who or what takes first place in your life - in your daily thoughts, cares, and concerns? God has put us first in his thought, care, and concern for our well-being and future. God loved us first and our love for him is a response to his exceeding kindness and mercy towards us. Even while we were hopelessly adrift through our own sinful pride, rebellion and unbelief, he choose to give us his own beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who laid down his life for our sake - to set us free from slavery to sin, Satan, and death.