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Father Muench Says...

‘Do not be afraid, just have faith’

July 8, 2015

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

I have been thinking of my faith – my own faith in God, lately.  I imagine that part of this concern has come from the Sunday Gospels that have been read at Masses during the last few weeks.  I especially think of the Jairus story.  I am certain you remember that story.  Jairus comes to seek Jesus’ help for his very sick daughter.

As I read the story, I am certain that Jairus was a friend of Jesus, even possibly a childhood friend.  I really don’t know for certain.  Jesus knew exactly where Jairus lived when he decided to go to Jairus’ daughter.  Jairus had certainly developed a closeness for Jesus and he had a great deal of faith in Jesus.  He believed that Jesus could heal his daughter.

Jairus is for us a wonderful example and a real model for our faith life; he had great faith.  He trusted that something good would come about with Jesus.

As the Jairus story continues, there are all sorts of interruptions on the way to his home. 

A woman comes along seeking a healing.  We know little about her, not even her name.  She had heard about Jesus and somehow she developed faith in him.  She believed that she had only to touch the hem of his garment. Her this faith is rewarded with healing – she definitely shows us faith.

Then Jairus’ servants come to tell him that they believe his daughter has died.  Can you imagine how stunned Jairus is?  Jesus intercedes – “Do not be afraid, just have faith.”

One of our deacons reminded me that in the Gospels, Jesus says, “Do not be afraid, just have faith” 73 times.  Jairus’ faith in Jesus stays strong – they continue to his home where Jesus heals his daughter.

As I meditate on this story, I wonder whether my faith is strong like that of Jairus and that woman.  I have often turned to the Lord, many times with many intentions, hoping that the Lord would recognize my faith.  I must admit that there was some doubts.  Was I worthy enough?  Would Jesus really hear me? However, my experience has taught me.  When I needed the Lord – in a crisis, in a challenge, in a problem – Jesus has walked with me and given me the strength to get through it all.  My faith had helped me.

There is something that I think of often:  Jesus said this, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this tree, uproot yourself and fall into the lake.”  I certainly can’t do that – I’ve tried. 

My faith is rather tiny.  I must continue to pray. I must turn to Jesus praying that my faith will become stronger. I know only too well that my turn will come.  I must have a stronger faith for then I can deal with all that life brings me.My faith grows each time I turn to the Lord in my prayers.  Each Mass is a time to meet the Lord in the Eucharist and truly strengthen my faith.  Jesus continues to invite me closer telling me not to be afraid.  My relationship with Jesus, my friendship with Jesus, my faith in Jesus transforms me.  With Jesus as a friend, I truly become a different person, alive in the strength of my faith.

I am certain that walking with Jesus is transformative.  His presence strengthens my confidence that I will do the right thing, say the right thing, make the right decisions.

Also, Jesus is my Savior. When I fail, when I sin and turn to the Lord in repentance I will find forgiveness and conversion.

The Jairus’ story ends with Jesus telling the girl’s parents to give her something to eat.  It reminds me of a doctor – a very wonderful doctor – I knew way back in my Massena assignment. 

Often, after treating a child, he could give the parents a prescription form on which he wrote, “Take this child out for an ice cream cone.” 

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