Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Hosea 2:16.17c-18.21-22; Matthew 9:18-26)
Rabbi Abraham Heschel taught that humans express sorrow on three levels. On the lowest level, they cry. On the next level, they keep silent. And on the highest level, they turn their sorrow into song. Music gives grief an outlet. For this reason the gospel today notes flute players beside the death bed of the Jewish maiden.
But is the girl really dead? The evangelist wants to show that there is no room for the death of a believer when Jesus, the author of life, is present. It would be like trying to keep the sun from shining. Jesus only has to say the word and the apparently lifeless springs to attention.
We live in a time when death has lost some of its sting. It is not unusual for people to live past eighty years old. Indeed, people openly talk of death as a blessing when its alternatives harbor suffering or listless existence. But the infirmity of old age, pain and unconsciousness are signs of impending death. When Jesus gives new life, there is vigor not misery. We await his call at the end of time when we will rise from the dust of our graves to experience a more abundant life than we have ever known.