Mt 12:38-42 Something Greater Here

Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
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Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”  He said to them in reply, “…At he judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here…”

Something Greater.  Not too long ago, I went to the hospital to give a blessing to a wonderful couple who had suffered the loss of their newborn baby.  Their tragic loss did not come as a surprise to them.  During a routine exam, doctors noticed the child was motionless and that there was no heartbeat.  Regardless of all the advanced warnings, when the child was delivered the couple was devastated by their sudden loss.

By the time I arrived at the hospital, the mother had the child in her arms. I shook hands with her husband and reached over and gave her a big hug.  I opened up my prayer book and read from the book of Lamentations:

“My soul is deprived of peace,
I have forgotten what happiness is;
I tell myself my future is lost,
all that I hoped for from the Lord…
Remembering it over and over
leaves my soul downcast within me. 
But I will call this to mind,
as my reason to have hope:
The favors of the LORD are not exhausted,
his mercies are not spent…”
At the end of the ceremony, we prayed:
May God give us peace in our sorrow,
consolation in our grief,
and strength to accept his will in all things.
After the ceremony, the couple spoke openly to me of their heartache and pain when first told of their child’s condition, and of their determination to do what would be pleasing to the Lord.  Throughout their ordeal, the couple remained firm in the faith, accepting and doing only God’s will. 
I found peace and strength in their incredible testimony of faith, hope and love.
Before I left, the husband wanted to take a picture.  He set his camera up, placed himself on the rightside of his wife and child and pressed the button on a remote control that was in his hand.  The camera’s flash went off and a couple of pictures were taken. 

As I approached my car, I reflected on what I had seen and heard.  I was astonished at something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.  Finally, it dawned on me what it was:  Never had I seen so much peace and joy in such a painful situation.  What was the tipping point?  Their smiles – my smile – our smiles – as the pictures were being taken! 

It was uplifting. 

They knew their child was a saint in heaven.

O, what faith can do to the heart, soul and mind.

“There is something greater here…”  Yes.  Someone and something greater than we could ever have imagined, but that only faith could ever have revealed.


Fr. Alfonse (1044 Posts)

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