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Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus demonstrates his miraculous power to heal the sick and raise the dead. He cured a woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years who came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak. And he took the hand of the official’s daughter and raised her from the sleep of death.

Christianity is, first and foremost, a religion of the concrete and not the abstract. It takes its power not from a general religious consciousness, not from an ethical conviction, not from a comfortable abstraction, but from the person of Jesus Christ. 

It is Christ—in his uncompromising call to repentance, his unforgettable gestures of healing, his unique and disturbing praxis of forgiveness, his provocative nonviolence, and especially his movement from godforsaken death to shalom-radiating Resurrection—that moves the believer to change of life and gift of self. 

And it is the unique Christ—depicted vividly in the poetry of Dante, the frescoes of Michelangelo, the sermons of Augustine, the stained-glass windows of the Sainte Chapelle, and the sacred ballet of the liturgy—who speaks transformatively to hearts and souls across the Christian centuries.