Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B – Our Lady of Mercy, Enoch

02 July 2024

Appears in: Messages and Homilies


[Wisdom 1:13-15, 2:23-24; Psalm 30; 2Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15; Mark 5:21-43]


Today we shall ask God’s blessing upon a new cemetery at Our Lady of Mercy parish here in Enoch. Setting land aside for the holy and merciful purpose of burial is a sign of great love and deep respect for our beloved dead.

To receive the message of the Creator’s Holy Word, let’s consider why, precisely, we bury our deceased loved ones. Simply put, this Christian practice arises from our belief that their bodies await their resurrection to eternal life.

In the final part of the Creed, we profess our belief in the resurrection of the body. St Paul teaches: in baptism we have been united to Jesus in a death like his; therefore, we shall also be united with him in a resurrection like his (cf. Romans 6:3-11). Because Jesus rose in his body, so, too, shall we. How God will raise our bodies and reunite them with our souls is a mystery beyond human understanding. Yet we hold to this with sure hope, because of the Lordship of Jesus over all things, even death itself.

His sovereignty is on full display in the Gospel text.  He not only heals a sick woman whose condition is beyond human ability to cure, but also raises a dead girl back to life. These miracles are signs which Jesus offers to point to the greatest work he is sent to accomplish: his victory over sin and death when he himself would rise from the dead. His victory becomes ours when we place our faith entirely in him and live from his power.

Here I draw our attention to one important detail in today’s Gospel. We are told that the life-saving power of Jesus began to flow in the ill woman when she reached out and touched him. This begs the question: is it possible that we, too, can touch the body of our Lord and receive from him that same power? In point of fact, Jesus himself made that possible for us when he established the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. The clear teaching of the Church is that what was present in the earthly body of Jesus as he walked this earth passed into the sacraments following his return to the Father (cf. CCC, nn. 1115-1116). In them we touch his body, most clearly so in the mass, where bread and wine become the true Body and Blood of our Risen Lord.

Let’s hold onto this beautiful truth as we prepare to bless the new cemetery and every time we visit the graves of our loved ones. Jesus linked the Eucharist with eternal life, when he said that those who eat his flesh and drink his blood will have eternal life and that he will raise them up on the last day (cf. John 6: 47-58). When we celebrate mass and receive Holy Communion, we touch the body of our Lord, and his power over death flows within us. What Jesus promises will happen; his power cannot fail. This grounds our sure hope that our bodies will be raised up to share in eternal life. Until then, we reverently bury the body as it awaits the resurrection “on the last day”.

In our mass this morning, let us pray for the repose of the souls of our loved ones who have died and whose bodies await the general resurrection. Let us pray also for ourselves. The Lord has granted us the possibility of touching his body as we receive the Eucharist. May his power flow mightily within us, that we shall be healed of all sin and prepared for life eternal.


Most Reverend Richard W. Smith

Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Enoch

June 30th, 2024