Fr Vincent's reflections on the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021
St. Mark’s Gospel today tells the story of two healing miracles by Jesus. We see that faith is not a once-and-done decision, but that it must grow through asking questions and facing challenges. We will never be finished with our journey of faith; we too must face the challenges of life and ask ourselves some tough questions to discover what Jesus offers to those willing to trust in him.
watch the video: Fr Vincent's reflections on the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021
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13th Sunday – Ordinary Time (June 27, 2021)
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. R/. Amen.
The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
R/. And with your spirit.
On this 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, let us pray:
O God, who through the grace of adoption
chose us to be children of light,
grant, we pray,
that we may not be wrapped in the darkness of error
but always be seen to stand in the bright light of truth.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. R/. Amen.
Please pause this video and retrieve your Bible so you can follow along.
The Gospel today is Mark 5:21 - 43.
✠ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
“My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.”
He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.
There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors
and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak.
She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”
Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,
turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?”
But his disciples said to Jesus,
“You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,
and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’”
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her,
approached in fear and trembling.
She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”
While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said,
“Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep.”
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,”
which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.
The Gospel of the Lord. R/. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
The Gospel today offers us two healing miracles by Jesus: The story of the synagogue official’s – Jarius’ – daughter, and the story of the woman with the hemorrhages. These stories are braided together to show faith grow in relationship with Jesus, our God who heals.
Before looking at the two chief characters, first, Jarius, and then, second, the unnamed woman with the hemorrhages, we can recognize three other examples of “faith,” or the lack there of: (1) the crowd of followers with Jesus, (2) the messengers from Jarius’ house, and (3) the group of mourners at his house when Jesus arrives.
Jesus’ followers, you would think, have some form of faith, but in the Gospel, they represent the “curious” believer – no commitment, but they want to see what, if anything, Jesus might do to prove He is who he seems to be. The messengers represent the “pragmatic” believer (really disinterested except if personally beneficial) – Jesus failed to meet their expectations, so why bother with him. Finally, the mourners represent the “rejection” of belief – what Jesus offers is directly against how they want to live life, so they attack Jesus. There are lessons from each of these types, but that’s for another day!
So now, first Jarius. He believes enough to ask Jesus for help, but his faith begins born out of desperation, and is very much at a basic level. He’s not really sure, not a real believer yet, but Jesus is his only hope. His trust is somewhat above the curious crowd and certainly stronger than his disinterested messengers. He’s not going to give up, but he needs to be led by Jesus to see for himself and allow his trust and faith to grow. Jesus leads him away from the crowd, basically showing him, “you cannot equate curiosity with faith.” And Jesus ignores the messengers, to say, “ignore those who ignore Jesus because they are too self-serving to become true believers.” And when confronted with the mourners who ridicule Jesus, Jesus shows Jarius that “those who reject God’s presence must themselves be sternly rejected.” All of this is showing Jarius, and us, that God does what to help us grow our faith and help us face the obstacles to faith. Because Jarius did not give up, he is rewarded with not only the answer to his prayer, but the great gift of deepened faith itself.
In the middle of Jarius’ journey (to home and to faith) we meet the woman with the hemorrhages. Her faith story is similar to Jarius, but while he has faced external challenges to his growth in faith, the woman has faced internal challenges – her own questions – and come to the same conclusion: Jesus is the only hope and the only answer. She reaches out with a bit more confidence than Jarius had initially. Interior doubts are like exterior pressures and must be overcome if the person is to receive the reward of faith. Jesus affirms that the woman’s efforts have been worth the struggle: faith has healed her and saved her soul.
You and I are on a similar journey of faith. In our humanness, we might at times be no more than curious, or simply approaching Jesus with self-serving motives. We might even find ourselves rejecting some of what Jesus expects because it requires too much letting go of my personal wants and expectations. But if we can find the beginnings of hope, that Jesus truly has something good to offer, then we can let Jesus guide us through the questions and internal or external challenges. Staying open to what Jesus has to show us and offer us is the only way to grow in faith and receive the reward. The journey is not easy, and we will have ups and downs along the way. But seeing faith as a journey of growth and not a “once and done” decision will help us to persevere and ultimately achieve everlasting life with Jesus.
And now, the final blessing.
The Lord be with you. R/. And with your spirit.
May the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you for ever. R/. Amen.