Homily 13th Sunday of the Year B: Michael U. Udoekpo
Christ became “poor” that we might be “rich”
The first reading of today, Book of Wisdom was written in Greek language, many years, before Christ’s birth. It was meant to encourage faith in God, fulfilled in Christ. Although the original audience had their difficulties during that Hellenistic period, they understood the genre of divine wisdom: the wisdom and richness of God’s mercy, His creating us in his own image, His love, justice, judgment, His forgiveness, generosity, healing mercies, liberation and His restoring us from death to life; different from human thinking. God in is Wisdom created us in his own image. When people fumbled, in the case of Cain and Abel, Tower of Babel, misbehaviors of the judges and Israel’s Kings, in His wisdom God would always sent us people like Abraham, Sarah, Samuel, David, Hezekiah, Josiah, the prophets down to John the Baptist as His instruments of our salvation. This is divine wisdom and richness. As the Psalmist would put, it is in God’s wisdom not to “let our enemies rejoice over us…. He changes our mourning into dancing” (Ps 30). And death into life.
St. Paul enhances this glory, this "poverty", this graciousness, this generosity of divine Wisdom- Christ with us when he addresses the troubling Corinthian Church with these words, “you know that gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ that for our sake he became poor although he was rich,”(2 Cor 8:7-9). Poor in the sense that though he was in the form of God Christ did not count equality with God. He humbled himself and became obedience to God – to the cross, for our sake (Phil 2:6-8). He generously, and freely died that we might have life, be "rich" with life. And share in that divine wealth, and eternal banquette who is God himself.
This generosity of Christ, his "poverty" is expressed in the two healing episodes of today’s Gospel (Mark 5:21-43). He goes out of his way, to heal not only Jarius’ daughter but also the woman who had hemorrhage for many years. The Bible says 12 years, and had gone around without healing success in the hands of several doctors of her time. Not counting cost! In these two healing episodes we cannot dismiss the power of faith- perseverance and personal contact with Jesus, the Divine Wisdom. Contrasting this with the disciples, the crowd who attempted to discourage the woman or those who ridiculed Jesus’ divine and wisdom statement that the child was “asleep not dead.” Something Jesus also did and said at the Cemetery of Lazarus in John chapter 11. Sometimes we are like this crowd, faithless, tired, and frustrated in our life’s journeys. In other words, we have our challenges today! Even the challenges to understand the wisdom of God!
When we are dead in sin, overwhelmed by poverty: material and spiritual, lack of jobs and fatih, trials, sufferings, disappointments, threats of wars and denials of religious freedom, divisions, terrorism, secularism, materialism, relativism, monolatrism, or pains of injustices done to us, or lose of a loved one, we want to place all our faith and hope in the richness of Christ's wealth and wisdom, his love, mercy, generosity and forgiveness. Jesus is the source of life. And we want to go out of our way, to be "poor" "humble" and be generous with our neighbors, so that they might be "rich", loved them as Christ has first loved us. For he became “poor” that we might all be “rich”!