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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 13th (B) in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Wis 1:13-15; 2:23-24): God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. For he fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of the netherworld on earth, for justice is undying. For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it.
Responsorial Psalm: 29
R/. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I will extol you, o Lord, for you drew me clear and did not let my enemies rejoice over me. O Lord, you brought me up from the netherworld; you preserved me from among those going down into the pit. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Sing praise to the Lord, you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger lasts but a moment; a lifetime, his good will. At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing.

Hear, o Lord, and have pity on me; o Lord, be my helper. You changed my mourning into dancing; o Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
2nd Reading (2Cor 8:7.9.13-15): Brothers and sisters: As you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you, may you excel in this gracious act also. For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. Not that others should have relief while you are burdened, but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their needs, so that their abundance may also supply your needs, that there may be equality. As it is written: «Whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less».
Versicle before the Gospel (2Tim 1:10): Alleluia. Our Savior Jesus Christ destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 5,21-43): Jesus crossed to the other side of the lake and while He was still on the shore, a large crowd gathered around him. Jairus, an official of the synagogue, came up and seeing Jesus, threw himself at his feet and asked him earnestly, «My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her so that she may get well and live». Jesus went with him and many people followed, pressing from every side.

Among the crowd was a woman who had suffered from bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a lot at the hands of many doctors and had spent everything she had, but instead of getting better, she was worse. Since she had heard about Jesus, this woman came up behind him and touched his cloak thinking, «If I just touch his clothing, I shall get well». Her flow of blood dried up at once, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her complaint. But Jesus was conscious that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, «Who touched my clothes?». His disciples answered, «You see how the people are crowding around you. Why do you ask who touched you?». But he kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, aware of what had happened, came forward trembling and afraid. She knelt before him and told him the whole truth. Then Jesus said to her, «Daughter, your faith has saved you; go in peace and be free of this illness».

While Jesus was still speaking, some people arrived from the official's house to inform him, «Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Master any further?». But Jesus ignored what they said and told the official, «Do not fear, just believe». And He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James and John, the brother of James.

When they arrived at the house, Jesus saw a great commotion with people weeping and wailing loudly. Jesus entered and said to them, «Why all this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep». They laughed at him. But Jesus sent them outside and went with the child's father and mother and his companions into the room where the child lay. Taking her by the hand, he said to her, «Talitha kumi!» which means: “Little girl, get up!”. The girl got up at once and began to walk around. (She was twelve years old.) The parents were astonished, greatly astonished. Jesus strictly ordered them not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat.

«Daughter, your faith has saved you; go in peace and be free of this illness»

Fray Valentí SERRA i Fornell (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel presents us with two of Jesus' miracles that speak of the great faith of two entirely different persons. Whether Jairus —an official of the synagogue— or that poor ailing woman, both displayed much faith: Jairus is certain Jesus can cure his daughter, while that good old woman knows that just touching Jesus' robe will be more than enough to deliver her from her very serious bleeding. And, Jesus, because both are persons with a strong faith, grants them what they wanted.

The woman who thought she was unworthy of Jesus' attention, who did not dare to bother neither the Master nor those influential Jews, was the first one. Noiselessly, she came up behind him and, softly touching Jesus' cloak, she “draws out” her cure, and she can feel how her body is completely healed. Jesus, who knows what has happened, does not want to let her go without saying to her: «Daughter, your faith has saved you; go in peace and be free of this illness» (Mk 5:34).

To Jairus, Jesus is asking an even stronger faith. As God did with Abraham in the Old Testament, Jesus will ask Jairus to have faith against hope, a faith in impossible things. Jairus had been told the terrible news his little daughter had just died. We can easily imagine the deep anguish and horrible pain he must have felt in that very moment, and perhaps the temptation to despair. But Jesus, who had also heard the news, tells him: «Do not fear, just believe» (Mk 5:36). And, like those ancient patriarchs, hopelessly believing, he could see how his beloved little girl was resurrected by Jesus.

Two great lessons in faith for us. Jairus and the woman suffering a serious bleeding, along with so many others, from the Gospel pages, speak to us of the need to have an unmovable faith. We can make ours that beautiful evangelic exclamation: «O Lord, I believe; help my unbelief» (Mk 9:24).

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