Thoughts To Live By…

Archive for June 2009

Mk 5:21-43 -THE OFFICIAL’S DAUGHTER AND THE WOMAN WITH HEMORRHAGE
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In both Mark and Luke, Jesus has just calmed the storm on the sea and cured a demoniac at Gadara. Now we come to a double miracle which occur almost simultaneously in which Jesus deals with both death and disease. The message from Mark 5 and Luke 8 is that Jesus has power over the natural world and the supernatural world and now we see He has power over disease and death.

The Gospels report Jesus raising three people to life–this girl, the son of the widow of Nain, and Lazarus. In each case the identity of the person is clearly given.

This account shows us, once again, the role faith plays in Jesus’ saving actions.

In the case of the woman with the hemorrhage we should note that Jesus is won over by her sincerity and faith: she does not let obstacles get in her way. For your information, this is the real status of the woman. According to Mark, the doctors couldn’t help her. He says, “She suffered much at the hands of many doctors, had spent all her money and was not helped at all.” Luke doesn’t mention that she suffered at the hands of many doctors, nor that she had spent all her money on medical bills. He just mentions that she could not be healed. Why do you think Luke left that part out? Because Luke was a doctor.

Because of her condition, this woman, who have suffered hemorrhage for twelve years, was continuously unclean according to Lev 15:25-31 and her touch would have made anyone she touched unclean. Haggai 2:10-14 makes the point that if something clean touches something unclean, then the thing that was clean is defiled. She could not go to the temple to worship. She could not touch anyone or they would be unclean for the rest of the day. If she sat in a chair, it was unclean for the rest of the day, etc. So she was basically cut off from normal fellowship with others and with God

Such was her seemingly helpless situation that she came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His garment; for she said to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I shall be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her He said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. (Mt. 9:21-23).

Similarly, Jairus, the “ruler” (of the synagogue) referred to in today’s gospel narrative as can be known from the parallel passages in Mark (5:21-43) and Luke (8:40-56), does not care what people will say; a prominent person in his city, he humbles himself before Jesus for all to see. “While He (Jesus) was speaking to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before Him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” Kneeling is the eastern way of showing respect to God or to important people. Reverence is a legitimate and appropriate external sign of internal faith and adoration.

And Jesus rose and followed him, with His disciples” (Mt 9:18f). While they are on their way home, a sick woman comes up and touches Jesus’ garment. Her faith expressed in touching healed her. Jairus is with Jesus and when Jesus stops to help the woman some men from Jairus’ house report that Jairus’ daughter is dead. When they get to the house, He tells them “depart, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping” and they laugh at Him. Was she dead? Yes. The text says, “Her spirit returned.”

Jesus says the same thing about Lazarus: “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him” (John 11:11). Although Jesus speaks of sleep, there is no question of the girl–or Lazarus, later–not being dead. For our Lord there is only one true death–that of eternal punishment (cf. Matthew 10:28).  Sleep is a euphemism for “temporal” death. Paul even uses this term for believers (1 Co 15, 1Co 11).

Three interpretations we can possibly develop on today’s account:

First, from the healing of the woman we see that it is faith in Christ, not magical touches that heal. The power is in a person, not a fabric or formula. In Jesus’ time there was a superstition that that power was in the robe of a great man, priest, rabbi, etc. Her belief was that touching the fabric would make her well. In fact, when she did touch His garment, she was healed. Jesus was aware of the fact that a miracle had taken place.

Was she healed by touching his garment? Was it the garment that healed her? No, Mark 5:30 says Jesus felt the power flow from Him. Jesus declares to the woman that it was not the touch but her faith which healed her. Mark wants to distinguish between the fabric and her faith in Him. Here we can see that God can use inadequate faith, respond to it and clarify it later.  God was gracious enough to respond to her faith even though it was not mature. I think one of the reasons Jesus stopped was to tell the woman that it was her faith that healed her so that she wouldn’t continue in her superstition.

Second, the raising of Jairus’ daughter affirms the deity of Christ and proves that he is the Messiah, the resurrection and the life.  Matt 11:5 quotes Isa 35. It is Jesus who guarantees our resurrection from the dead. Because He lives, we too shall live (Paul tells us). It is him that turns death into sleep from which we can awake.

Third, intercessory prayer is powerful. Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men especially sinners (cf. Rom 8:34; 1 Jn 2:1; Tim 2:5-8). In today’s Gospel story we seem to have a miracle occurring almost independently of the woman being raised from dead. She was raised from the dead because of the faith of his Jairus – his father.

It was Jairus’ prayer in faith that healed and saved her daughter from hemorrhage. Have faith, then, to Jesus so that your heart learns to pray in faith. Faith is a filial adherence to God beyond what we feel and understand. It is possible because the beloved Son gives us access to the Father. He can ask us to “seek” and to “knock,” since he himself is the door and the way (cf. Mt 7:7-11, 13-14, see cf. CCC 2609).  “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will” (Mk 11:24). Such is the power of prayer and of the faith that does not doubt: “all things are possible to him who believes” (Mk 9:23; cf. Mt21:22;  see cf. CCC 2610).

I exhort you, then, to have faith in God who “wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:3-4), that is, Jesus the way, the truth and the life” (see Jn 16:1; 14:6). “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn world, but that the world might be saved through him” (Jn 3: 17) and “that we might have life to the full” (Jn 10:10).  Apart from Him you can do nothing (Jn 15:5), hence, pray always and never lost heart (Lk 18:1), “never cease praying, render constant thanks; such is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thes 5:17f);

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* by InStyle.com, on Fri Jun 5, 2009 10:07am PDT

Hair myths circulate like urban legends, but which horror stories are just hype? Before you toss your favorite shampoo or swear off color, separate fact from fiction.

Grant Cornett/Time Inc. Digital Studio

1. True or False? Frequent Trims Make Your Hair Grow Faster

FALSE. “Hair grows from the roots, not the tips,” says Michael Wright, senior research scientist at Nexxus Salon Hair Care. A trim removes split ends to prevent them from moving farther up the hair shaft, saving you from having to cut more to eliminate the damage. Keep your hair healthy in the first place with conditioning treatments and sun and heat protectors, says Saurabh Desai, principal scientist at Aveeno Nourish+.

2. True or False? Brushing Your Hair Often Makes It Healthier

FALSE. Brushing your hair 100 times before bed won’t make your hair look any better. In fact, it might make it look worse. “Over-brushing can dull hair by destroying the cuticle, as well as causing split ends and breakage,” says Desai. And using the wrong tool could further harm hair. In general, plastic and metal bristles can weaken the hair cuticle and cause damage or static and flyaways, so consider switching to a gentle brush with natural boar bristles. “Stick to just enough brushing to keep your hair from becoming tangled — the brush should be able to move through the hair with ease,” says N.Y.C. celebrity hairstylist Miok. For some, that might mean as little as a few strokes just once or twice a day.

3. True or False? Massaging Your Scalp Stimulates Hair Growth

FALSE. “Scalp massage can increase blood circulation, decrease stress and help distribute the scalp’s natural oils onto the hair,” says Desai. “All of this may lead to better functioning of the cells that are creating hair follicles, so your hair grows at its optimal rate — however, that rate will not increase.” On average, hair grows a half inch every month.

4. True or False? Chemical Straighteners Change Your Texture Permanently

FALSE. “As hair grows, your natural texture returns,” says celebrity hairstylist Serge Normant at N.Y.C.’s John Frieda Salon. After a straightening treatment, the visible hair will be permanently altered, but the chemical process can’t penetrate your roots. Likewise, daily blowout devotees might think they’ve unkinked their curls for good because hair starts to seem straighter over time, but what they’re actually seeing is damaged hair that has lost texture, not a permanent change.

5. True or False? Wearing a Ponytail in the Same Area Can Give You a Bald Spot

TRUE. “The effect is called traction alopecia. The constant tugging by a tight band can scar hair follicles and cause them to stop growing new hair,” says Doris Day, a dermatologist in N.Y.C. She suggests switching pony positions daily to alleviate tension. Tie back hair with a soft elastic band and wrap the ponytail as loosely as possible, suggests Desai. It’s not just ponytails that can be the culprit, either — headbands, braids and barrettes may result in similar damage when repeatedly worn in the same spot.

6. True or False? A Cold Rinse Adds Shine and Tames Frizz

TRUE. A blast of cold water at the end of your shower can make hair appear shinier because it temporarily helps the cuticle flatten down onto the hair shaft, explains Desai. But the results might not last if you don’t properly dry your hair. Make sure the cuticle remains flat by applying a deep conditioner or silicone-based product to seal it.

7. True or False? Hair Can Become Immune to Shampoo

FALSE. Shampoo will always do its job: clean. So why does it seem like your favorite bottle suddenly stops working? “Shampoo contains ingredients that condition and provide styling benefits, but it can also leave a residue that builds up,” says Desai. If you start to notice dullness, use a clarifying shampoo (try Nexxus Aloe Rid Gentle clarifying shampoo, $11; at drugstores) once or twice a month to remove accumulated product — any more often and you could strip hair of its healthy natural oils.

8. True or False? Coloring Can Change Your Hair’s Texture

TRUE. Temporarily, of course — but sometimes for the better. Permanent color removes the protective layer on your hair and lifts the cuticles so dyes are able to penetrate, says Desai, while semipermanent dye deposits color onto hair and is less harsh. Both methods have benefits, says N.Y.C. trichologist David H. Kingsley: “Color can swell the hair shaft and give it body.” The change is especially noticeable on women with fine or thinning hair, as well as those with gray roots.

It’s Your Call … Is Coloring Hair During Pregnancy Dangerous?
Check with your doctor first, especially if you have allergies, but “it’s probably not harmful. However, you should wait until the second half of your pregnancy when the baby is fully formed,” says Eileen Krim of Northern Obstetrics and Gynecology in North Hills, N.Y. Can’t go another second without a color fix? Krim recommends highlights “because they start a quarter inch from the scalp, where the dye isn’t being absorbed into the body.” If you’re getting your hair professionally colored, “schedule the appointment for when the salon is less crowded,” she says. “Definitely stay away from peak hours on Saturday afternoon to avoid inhaling fumes.” If you choose to color at home, wait until the third trimester. “Work in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves,” Krim says. Look for dyes that have low or no ammonia, and don’t assume that “natural” dyes are chemical-free — often these contain the same compounds found in regular hair color.

— Alonna Friedman

Mk 14:12-16, 22-26 – The Lord’s Supper
Solemnity of Body and Blood of Christ
Sunday Gospel Reflection

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Corpus Christi. “Corpus Christi” are two Latin words for “Body of Christ.” This great feast is in honor of the Real Presence of the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of Jesus Christ in the Eucharistic species of bread and wine.

St. Bonaventure reminds us of its meritorious effect when we celebrate and explicitly confess our belief on the Eucharist: “There is no difficulty about Christ’s presence in the Eucharist as in a sign, but that He is truly present in the Eucharist as He is in heaven, this is most difficult. Therefore to believe this is especially meritorious.”[ 7. In. IV Sent. Dist. X. P. I Art. Un. Qu. I, Oper. Omn. Tom. IV Ad Claras Acquas 1889, p. 217]

As we celebrate this Solemnity of the Corpus Christi we are reminded of the following:

First, the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and Holy Days of Obligations. This is the first of the precepts of the Church in which every Catholic ought to fulfill to the least to be considered practicing Christian. The first precept (“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation”) requires the faithful to participate in the Eucharistic celebration when the Christian community gathers on the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord” (Cf. CIC, cann. 1246-1248; CCEO, can. 881 par.1, par. 2, and 4).

In the Philippines the holy days of obligations are: Christmas Day (December 25), Motherhood of Mary (January 1), and Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (December 8).

Essentially connected to this obligation is our active, full and conscious participation in the celebration of Eucharist. When we are absent-minded or our focus is disintegrated our participation is questionable. When we do not know what we say and what we do during the mass our participation is not conscious. When we do not participate in all the responses and community singing during Mass our participation is not active and full. When we go to the Church for reasons other than to take part in the celebration of the Mass then our motivation and participation are questionable.

Second, to receive the sacred body and blood of Jesus Christ every time we attend Mass or at least once a year especially during Easter. This is also one of the precepts of the Church. “The Mass is a sacred banquet of communion with the Lord’s body and blood. And it is because of this that even the Eucharistic sacrifice is wholly directed toward intimate union of the faithful with Christ through communion. To receive communion is to receive Christ himself who has offered himself for us” (see cf. CCC 1382).

During the consecration where the bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, he invites and urges us to receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist. “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you ( see Jn 6:53). “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him (Jn 6:57).

In the Eucharist “is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself our Pasch and the living bread which gives life to men through his flesh – that flesh which is given life and gives life through the Holy Spirit. Thus men are invited and led to offer themselves, their works and all creation with Christ …” (Presbyterorum ordinis, n. 5). For the bread of life to sustain life, it must be sought, approached, taken, broken, and eaten. Likewise Jesus must be invited into our lives if we are to enjoy the well being he brings.

Third, to receive worthily the sacred body and blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. St. Paul St. Paul urge us to examine our conscience before coming to confession to avoid the sin of sacrilege: ”Whoever, therefore, eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the body and blood of the Lord. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself” (1 Cor 11:27-29).

To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves by receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion when conscious of grave sin (cf. CCC 1385) by observing the fast required in the Church (cf. CIC, can. 919) and by bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) that convey the respect, solemnity and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest.

Before so great a sacrament, let us echo humbly and with ardent faith the words of the Centurion:” Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed” (cf. Mt 8:8). And pray, that through Christ, the Mediator, we may be drawn day by day into ever more perfect union with God and with each other so that finally God may be all in all” (see cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 48).


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