Reading (2 Samuel 18:9-10, 14b, 24-25a, 30-19:3)
Gospel (St. Mark 5:21-43)
In the readings today, we hear about two parents who have experienced the death of a child. We hear about David and the death of his son Absalom. Absalom had rebelled against David, put an army together, and had gone against his own father. We hear also about this little girl who had apparently died, the people were weeping and mourning, and Jesus came to the house and healed the little girl.
In this we see the mercy of God toward His children, His human children. God loves us so much that He came to us in order to heal us. Just as He would say to this little girl, Get up, arise, so He says to us. Ultimately, the healing is going to take place only after death when we rise definitively forever, but even in this life there is the interior healing. Oftentimes, that is not going to be accompanied by a physical healing, because sometimes the physical illness is going to actually be better for us than if we did not have it, but the interior healing is what is most important, the forgiveness of sin and the recognition of our union with Christ. And so Our Lord touches the hearts of each of us, and from the death of our sin, He calls to us, Arise.
But we also see the mercy of God as He looks upon His children in the death of their own sins. Just like David, God would be able to say, My son, my son, if only it had been me instead of you. God, in fact, did exactly that. He sent His own Son, Who is God, and He died in place of us. God took such mercy upon us because He is a Father, that even when we had rebelled in a manner which was worse than what Absalom had done against his father David, God being a loving father was not going to condemn us. Because of His love for us, He sent His Son to die for us. It is the attitude and disposition of any parent that the parent would rather die than see their child die; the parent would rather suffer than see their child suffer. So God, Who is obviously the perfect parent, did exactly that. He took on our suffering; He took on death for us. We still have to suffer and we still have to die, but now it has an entirely different meaning to it. When we look at our suffering now, we can unite it with His, and we recognize that death is the only means to life. So when Our Lord calls us to rise in that definitive time at the resurrection from the dead, that will only be because He Himself has already come to suffer for us, to die for us, and to be the first one to rise.
We see the pattern in the situation of these two persons in the Gospel and in the first reading. We see the attitude of the parents seeking to heal their children, to suffer and die rather than watch their children suffer and die. We also see the ultimate love of God, and we hear the words ringing in the hearts of each one of us to arise and to be with Him forever.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.