November 28, 2021
And so Elisha died and was buried. At that time of year, bands of Moabites used to raid the land. Once some people were burying a man, when suddenly they saw such a raiding band. So they cast the man into the grave of Elisha, and everyone went off. But when the man came in contact with the bones of Elisha, he cameback to life and got to his feet. - 2Kings 13:20-21
A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak. She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.” Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” And from that hour the woman was cured. - Matthew 9:20-22
So extraordinary were the mighty deeds God accomplished at the hands of Paul that when face cloths or aprons that touched his skin were applied to the sick, their diseases left them and the evil spir- its came out of them. Acts 19:11-12
Scripture presents the basis for relics. Bones/Body parts as well as clothes worn or handled by the saint in question are first and second class relics. Items which have been touched to first or second class relics are third class relics, and items touched to said relics are considered to be third class relics as well. In the twenty-first century we may scoff at the idea of relics having the power to do anything, and we wouldn’t be wrong. Relics are not magical items. Relics have no inherent power. Rather, they are a means to connect in an intimate way with a saint, someone who is in the physical and spiritual presence of the Lord in heaven. The Lord does not need relics to work, but He uses them because we are physical beings in a physical world.
The idea of having physical reminders of those who have passed on is not as strange an idea as we might initially think. We have tombstones and grave markers, to visit the remains of loved ones. We hold onto family heirlooms to feel closer to those who have passed. We make pillows or teddy bears from the shirts of those no longer with us, so we can hug them even though they’re gone. Relics not only serve as a means for us to connect with heaven, they keep the saints, those who can show us the way to heaven and inspire us to holiness, close to us. The saints are our broth- ers and sisters in Christ. We keep them and their belongings around as family heirlooms, grave markers, and items of comfort just like with the family members we’ve spent time with in-person.
Written by: Melissa Capella