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Several years ago I went on a whale watch. There were twelve of us to brave the cold, fall wind and choppy seas. We all huddled inside the cabin with hot chocolate, reading a Save the Whale brochure provided by the captain. After about an hour of full speed ahead to nowhere, the captain bellowed, “There she blows at three o’clock!” We all ran outside to the deck. Lo and behold, a whale was rolling in the waves. The captain was pretty excited about the whole thing (we were guaranteed to see a whale or our money back). He said, “Oh this is Hurricane. We call her that because she has a swirl marking on her stomach which looks like a hurricane. We have noticed that she is gaining some weight and believe she is about four months pregnant. We are not going to get too close because we don’t want to frighten her.” Then he drifted into a lecture about saving the whales. I said to myself–“Wait a minute. This is a mammal in the middle of the ocean. Does this mammal have any idea that there is a guy who gave her a name, knows her body weight, personality and is on a campaign to save her life…?” If that is the case, then is likely that God knows a nobody like me, and is on a campaign for my resurrection.
Some ancients believed that God was only interested in big and important matters: He had the universe to worry about. That is why they called God, “The God of the universe.” Other ancients said, “The most important thing for God was the building of nations. He is interested in the superpowers, the balance of trade, laws, politics and world leaders.” That is why they called Him “The God of the nations.” Then Moses met God. Moses asked Him His name. He said, “I am the God of Abraham.” Abraham? He was from Ur. Where? Exactly my point. He was nobody. A wandering uneducated nomad. Then God said, “I am the God of Jacob.” Jacob stole his older brother’s birthright. Nice guy, right? Yes, he is flawed but still, he is important to God, enough that God named Himself after a flawed individual. What does this tell us?
A woman came up to me and said, “My husband and I have been trying to have a baby for a long time. Can you say a prayer?” I said a prayer and the next thing I heard is that she had a baby boy. Naturally, she showed me the baby. When I saw him, I laughed because he had the cutest face with fat dimples when he smiled. She was so proud of her baby and said, “I never thought it was possible to love another human being so much.” I wonder if this miracle baby has any idea how valuable he is and how loved he is.
Jesus was in the synagogue on the Sabbath. He saw a woman who was crippled for eighteen years. Eighteen years without holding a baby; eighteen years of not being able to hold a job; eighteen years without contributing to society; eighteen years without a comfortable night sleep. She came to the temple and the leader tells her to come back tomorrow to be cured. Before we appreciate what Jesus said, let me illustrate with an example. Let’s say the leader was walking into the sanctuary on the Sabbath and slipped going up the stairs. He lands on his arm and breaks it. “Oh, my arm hurts,” he says. Then Jesus starts to walk toward him. Do you think the leader is going tell Jesus to come back tomorrow when it is not the Sabbath? I don’t think so. The leader is going to say, “It’s okay everyone. It’s okay. Jesus can cure me because there is a loophole in the law that states that God can cure important people on the Sabbath so they can continue His work.” When Jesus sees this non-important woman, He calls her, “Adaughter of Abraham.” WOW, that is bigger than a queen. It is certainly higher than a synagogue leader. That is the answer to the question whether Jesus can cure on the Sabbath. He can cure important and special people of God.
The faith lesson is, It is the most insignificant woman or man that is most important to God. He knows us by name: I am Peter son of Alfred and Mary. People spend more time doubting that God cares than spending time convinced of His great love. I am convinced that God cares. That is what inspires me to do great things for God.Back to All Homilies