Why I shaved my head

“Why Fr. Michael Shaved His Head…”

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Well, I’m getting used to my new hairdo from Fr. Jeremy. I can’t help but think the last time this happened to me was actually by a young boy at my first parish. He was in 8th grade when I was there and he got leukemia. Right before Ash Wednesday Robert asked if he could shave my head. I went down to Rainbow Babies and Children’s and he shaved my head. Robert had one of the rare forms of leukemia that was extremely aggressive. Our entire parish really prayed for him, and my bald head was a constant reminder of everybody to pray for Robert. Now, Robert actually just entered the Jesuits this year. He just entered the Jesuit priesthood. So, Robert had a miraculous healing and he is now doing very well and he’s becoming a Jesuit priest. It’s truly an amazing story of how God took a situation that seemed so horrible and was able to redeem it.

Robert Purgert buzzing Fr. Michael!

I want you to think about any situation you might have in your life right now. A couple situations come to my mind. I know a mother that’s struggling right now, her son just got his second DUI. He’s a young man, he just has an addiction to alcohol. He finally said to her the other day “Mom, I just don’t know if I can fight this any more.” That’s got to be so heart breaking for a mother to hear.

I have another good friend who’s mother just got out of the hospital. She was in the hospital, and she had colon cancer, and the doctors didn’t expect her to live. We all prayed over her, and she lived. She’s going to be back home tomorrow, on Monday.

The reality is, that Jesus worked a miracle 2,000 years ago and He raised Lazarus. He raised somebody from the dead. So Lazarus had been dead for 4 days. You can’t get a worse case scenario than that, right? Literally, he’s been dead for 4 days in the tomb. Lazarus’ sister says to Him, “Lord, you can’t open the tomb. There will be a stench. He’s been dead for 4 days.” The beautiful part of the prayer – actually He reveals to us a prayer to the Father – He says to the Father, “Father, I’m just saying this to you because I know how you work. I know that everything I’ve done is through your will and I know that you can do anything, but for their sake, can you raise him from the dead?” He says, “for their sake, raise him from the dead.” So, Jesus goes in and He raises Lazarus, and Lazarus comes out and he’s wrapped. He says to the people, “Untie him.” Lazarus lives.

When we deal with this whole question of suffering and death and misery, why do we go through it? The interesting thing about this gospel is when Lazarus was dying, Jesus was away. He was actually away, and then Lazarus died, and Jesus waited 2 days before He came back. Why did He wait? When He gets back, even one of the people in the crowd says, “if you loved him so much, why did you let him die in the first place?” Jesus says something so powerful. “It’s so that they may believe, so they may finally understand who God is and what I can do.”

Why did Robert have leukemia back in 8th grade? I think it was because God wanted to reveal His glory, not only to Robert and his family, but that entire parish experienced a miracle. Why are people going thorugh suffering right now? Why doesn’t God just stop it immediately? It’s because He wants to show His glory. Why does that mother who has to watch her son suffer for so long? Because God want to show His glory through her son.

What ever it is that you may be struggling with, if there’s any suffering in your life, if there’s any sin, maybe you’re struggling with a sin or addiction for 20 years, there’s nothing that God can’t redeem. I love that. In the first reading it says, “Oh my people, I will have you rise from the graves. Then we hear in the psalm, “The Lord is full of mercy and has the fullness of redemption.” The fullness of redemption. That means that there’s nothing He can’t redeem. Even somebody who thinks that they have thrown their entire life away because they’ve been addicted for 15, 20 years; there’s nothing God can’t redeem. They thought there’d be a stench in the tomb because of Lazarus and Jesus went right in there and rose him to new life. There is no situation in your life that is so bad that God can’t fix it.

I want to invite you, tomorrow night especially at 7 o’clock we have our Communal Penance. We’ll have 12 priests here, kind of like the 12 Apostles, we’ll have 12 priests here for you. If there’s anything that you’ve been struggling with in your life, if there’s any sin that you just feel like you haven’t been able to overcome, I just invite you to come to Confession. Jesus is waiting there, in that box for you. It’s like the tomb – he’s waiting there to touch you, and to heal you of your sin. Maybe you’ve wrestled with it for a long time, and maybe you think it’s not possible. But if Jesus can raise somebody from the dead, He can pretty much handle your problems. Come to Him, especially in the Sacrament of Confession.

Visiting Brian in Hospital

About the Author Fr. Michael Denk

Fr. Michael was ordained into priesthood in the Diocese of Cleveland on May 12, 2007. He is dedicated to helping others encounter Christ through the celebration of the Eucharist, preaching, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, spiritual direction, and prayer.

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I'm Father Michael J. Denk, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. I am a contributor of content to The Prodigal Father Productions, Inc., a non-profit corporation functioning in accord with the traditions and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The corporation and I are separate, it doesn't speak for me, the parish, or on behalf of the Diocese of Cleveland, and I do not speak for it.