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WHO CAN ENDURE AN ANGUISHED SPIRIT?
Fr. Steven Scherrer
Homily of Tuesday, 4th Week of the Year, February 03, 2009
Heb 12:1-4; Ps 21; Mk 5:21-43


"Taking her by the hand he said to her, Talitha cumi; which means, Little girl, I say to you, arise. And immediately the girl got up and walked" (Mk 5:41-42).


Jesus Christ cured many people during his life on earth, and even raised the dead, as he did to this twelve year old girl, to Lazarus (Jn 11:43), and to the son of the widow of Nain (Lk 7:14). We continue to read the Gospels with faith because this same Jesus Christ, who did these things during his earthly life, is the one who is now seated in glory at the right hand of his Father in heaven, interceding with him for us (Rom 8:34; Heb 7:25; 9:24). As Jairus begged his help for his daughter, so do we beg his help to save us and raise us out of the death of sin.


Sin causes us more interior suffering and pain of heart than anything else. The suffering caused by our sins, which is the suffering of guilt, is worse than the sufferings of the body, worse than the sufferings of sickness, and worse than the suffering caused by the attacks of our enemies. This is because it is our own conscience which is attacking us interiorly. We are attacking ourselves, and in such a situation, there is no peace, and we feel bad and unhappy.


Guilt is a sickness of the heart, which no earthly medicine can cure. We can endure bodily illnesses and even the attacks and damage done to us by our enemies, with a joyful spirit that comes to us from God, and with inner peace and happiness. We can even endure being humiliated by our enemies, and put up with it with inner happiness if we are at peace with God. But no one can endure well the suffering and pain of heart that comes from ourselves attacking ourselves for having sinned. This is the worst suffering of all. "A man's spirit will endure sickness," says Proverbs; "but a broken spirit who can bear?" (Prov 18:14).


It is to cure this sickness of the soul that Christ came into the world. He can raise us from the death of our spirit. For this he died on the cross, weighed down with our sins (2 Cor 5:21; Is 53:5-6), to raise us from spiritual death. He suffered so that we would suffer no more from guilt. Our punishment of guilt was put upon him, and he suffered this alienation from God, this just wrath of God, this being cursed by God (Gal 3:13; Dt 21:23), for the sake of our sins, for us and instead of us, to free us from this most terrible of all suffering, when we believe in him and invoke the merits of his death for us on the cross, particularly when we invoke them through the sacraments, which he himself left us in order to channel these merits to us (Mt 18:18; Jn 20:23).


 


 


 

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