Written by: Sam Abbott, UF Student
Imagine you are suffering from a devastating and debilitating disease. You are in constant agony and no matter what you do, you cannot stop or even diminish the pain. Now if a trusted doctor came to you and offered an instantaneous and permanent cure for this horrid illness, you would take it at once, right? Of course! You obviously would not reject it and try to cure your ailment through other means. However, this is what we often do.
In offering us eternal salvation, Christ has given us the antidote to the pain, suffering, and death here on Earth that was spawned “by the envy of the devil.” All we have to do is be fully dependent on Christ and follow His word and we can be with Him forever. The solution to all of our problems here on Earth is available to every single man and woman, yet we try and depend on other means. Some, like myself, are driven by arrogance and egoism to believe that they can solve all of their struggles by themselves. This self-dependence drives us further from God because we trick ourselves into believing we don’t need His grace. When we fail at solving our issues, our self-dependence is shattered and we latch on to other means that we believe will solve our issues, but only continue our demise.
Others pursue worldly things to stop their sorrows. Whether it be pleasure, power, or wealth, mankind has always attempted to achieve our deepest desires with temporal items. We believe that if we can achieve a certain level of wealth or fame, all of our worries will vanish. This dependence on the material to solve our problems leaves people coveting more and more in an attempt to satiate our needs. What we have now won’t satisfy us. This has lead modern man to become like Tantalus, a Greek character who was punished for filicide, and for feeding his son to the gods. For his punishment he was sentenced to stand in a pool of water with a fruit tree nearby whose branches would dangle low over the water. The punishment would be that the fruits of the tree would be just out of reach for Tantalus to be able to eat; and the water level would continuously change where each time Tantalus would reach for a fruit the water level would rise, but when he would try and get a drink of water from the pool the water would recede. with satisfaction just out of reach, the constant pursuit of the material leads people to eventually believe that their lives are devoid of meaning. One just has to watch the news recently to see how even the rich and successful can believe that existence itself is painful and pointless. Although written in the 1800’s, the sentiment Thoreau expresses when he states, “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”, still echoes throughout our society today.
Thankfully, today’s Gospel shows us the fruits of what total dependence on Christ can bring. The Gospel begins with Jairus, a synagogue official, coming to Jesus and begging him to save his daughter. Even this man of power and influence knew that only Jesus could cure his child and humbled himself before Christ. Likewise, a woman suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years, trusts Christ so much that she believes that even touching his clothes will cure her from her horrible ailment. These two people are rewarded for the dependence on Christ and provide us with a model on how to live. Although those who are fully dependent on God may not be instantly cured of their ailments, they are invited into Christ’s redemptive suffering and can learn to love Him more through suffering. Like Christ, we too will be ridiculed by some for having this dependence in God’s work, but we know only Christ can cure us of death and deficiencies. No man or material item can do so. To be dependent on God we must be humble and trust that through his grace, we will be, “preserved…from among those going down into the pit.” Just as Christ told the woman who touched His cloak, our faith will save us.