Loving Without Counting the Cost

07-01-2018From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

There are many demands made on our time, energy, attention, and resources every day. Some we respond to readily while others cause us to take a step back to think about what is involved. Today’s Gospel shows us how willing and ready Jesus is to respond to those in great need. Many times His response in today’s world happens through our efforts to be compassionate, helpful, reconciling, and loving. But where do compassion, helpfulness, reconciliation, and loving stop and begin to change to feelings that unfair and undeserving demands are being made on us? We can close our eyes, ignore the call for concern and help, say we have already done enough, or try to justify not getting involved.

In today’s Gospel (Mark 5:21-43) there are two very serious calls for help from Jesus. Jairus, the father of a young girl who is dying, seeks Jesus out in the hope that He will bring a cure that will restore His daughter to health. On His way to respond to Jairus’ request, a woman who has suffered from hemorrhages quietly comes up behind Jesus to touch just His clothes in the hope of finding a cure.

Jesus knows He can answer the request of both of these desperate people and does. He does not hesitate. No matter what is asked of Him or who it is who is asking He responds with God’s loving and healing touch. The ultimate sign in His earthly life of His willingness to give no matter what the cost is His death on the cross.

In one of the prayers for Good Friday called the Lamentations we hear words that are not accusatory or frustrated, but words that Jesus in His unconditional love has already risen above. The basic cry we hear is: what more could I have done that I did not do?

We readily respond to family and friends who are suffering from sickness, especially the sicknesses that are serious and life threatening. How good to see the simple gestures of visits, calls, and meals brought in. The challenge comes when we reach out and our efforts do not seem to make a difference. Some of the most beautiful and inspiring acts of love I see every week are when I visit couples where one spouse is seriously ill and or suffering from Alzheimer’s. How patient, loving, and committed the healthy spouse is, even when there seems to be very limited or no response. Some of the caregivers who suffer most and have obstacle after obstacle to overcome are the parents, family members and friends of those who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction. Their love for their addicted loved one makes them feel powerless and frustrated. Sadly, addiction destroys its victims and alienates them from those who love them. The caregivers feel they just cannot stand by, but run into one barrier after another. How difficult it is to treat the addicted one with tough love.

Jesus never walked away from difficult situations. He never gave up. He continued to love in the face of mockery, disbelief, and disdain. When he goes into the house of Jairus to heal the daughter, He is told the girl is dead. When Jesus says she is merely asleep they express doubt and ridicule Him. But Jesus goes beyond doubt and human powerlessness to do the good. He raises the girl back to life.

How joyful her parents and family had to be. How joyful Jesus was to shower God’s love on that girl and her parents. Where do we see Jesus’ life-giving love in our lives? It is there when we give without counting the cost or are not deterred by what others say or think. It is present when we are there day in and day out and are grateful for the opportunity to love. The power of Jesus’ love raises us beyond feeling put out or foolish, even when our love does not seem to be making a difference. Jesus never gives up on us. The more we recognize that, the more we feel the awe of the woman with the hemorrhages experiencing the healing power of God’s love. The more we hear the loving voice of Jesus saying to us, “Go your way, your faith has saved you.” I conclude with the very beautiful simple prayer called the serenity prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.


-Fr. Walden