13th SUNDAY in ORDINARY TIME, CYCLE B
Wisdom 1: 13-15; 2: 23-24 + Psalm 30 + 2 Cor. 8: 7, 9, 13-15 + Mark 5: 21-43
Holy Spirit Catholic Church: June 27, 2021
These two miracle stories in Mark’s Gospel are set within
the larger context of four consecutive accounts of Jesus’ power over chaos.
These four accounts of Jesus’ power to save are found at the end of Chapter 4
and in the entirety of Chapter 5 of the Gospel of Mark.
Last Sunday, at the end of Chapter 4 in Mark, we encountered Jesus’ power
over the chaos that erupts in nature as he calmed the powerful storm on the sea of Galilee.
At the beginning of Chapter 5, before the two accounts found in today’s Gospel,
Jesus reveals his lordship over the power of evil, as he sets the Gerasene demoniac free from the legion of demons possessing him.
Today we see Jesus’ power over a chronic illness which no doctor can cure
and then his power over that which causes the most chaos in human life—
death itself—as he raises the daughter of Jairus from her deathbed.
Sometime in the next few days, pull out your Bible and read these four miracle stories,
because they are intended to be read together as one account of Jesus’ saving power.
Jesus is called “Lord” because we believe he has power over anything
that could cut us off from His love.
We rightly name Jesus as “Lord” because he has power over everything
that tries to snatch us away from Him and the gift of His Life.
Those who turn to Jesus in faith open themselves up to his saving power,
as we see in the faith of the hemorrhaging woman and in the faith of Jairus.
Remember, as we saw in Jesus’ calming of the storm, when Jesus speaks about faith,
he is speaking about a reality that is the opposite of fear.
He is calling forth trust, which is relational, that we trust in Him and his power to save,
a trust that trumps fear, which is always trying to drown us.
The woman who has been bleeding for 12 years is at the end of her rope.
She has spent everything and received nothing in return.
Not only is she penniless, not only are her life savings gone, but she is also
a social outcast because of her constant flow of blood making her impure, unclean.
The Mosaic law is clear—because she bleeds she cannot enter the temple.
Surely she cannot help but feel completely cut off from God.
For 12 years she has sought healing to no avail.
For 12 years she has been unable to enter the temple and offer sacrifice for her sins.
For 12 years she has been tempted to give into fear and give up on God’s care for her.
But she has enough trust in Jesus, enough confidence in his power to heal and to save her, that she reaches out to touch him, confident that will be enough.
There were many in that crowd that jostled against Jesus that day,
who came into contact with him that day, but none with such trust in Jesus’ loving power.
This woman who had no name, this street woman who knew only pain—
not just physical, but emotional and spiritual—is rightly identified by Jesus
as a daughter of God—her faith has made her well.
When Jairus hears the news of his daughter’s death, that Jesus and he are too late
to save her from her sickness, surely he thought his future was lost to him.
Not only his daughter’s future lost to death, but his as well, for all the dreams he had
for her, all the things he had hoped to see her enjoy in life—snatched away in an instant.
But notice the words of Jesus to this faltering father:
“Do not be afraid, just have faith.”
In other words, do not let fear swallow you, but place your trust in me.
Jairus came to Jesus, trusting in his power to save his daughter from sickness,
and now he must make a greater leap of faith, that Jesus also has power over death itself.
As Jesus lifts up his daughter from the sleep of death, Jairus sees his trust is not in vain.
To “have faith” does not mean that we will not be afraid
or that fear will never try to swamp our lifeboat.
Rather, to “have faith” means that in the middle of the most fear-filled times of our life, we surrender ourselves to the Lord of all life and the Lord over death.
Because of our ongoing relationship with him, we trust that there is nothing
that can separate us from his love which always brings us new life. (cf. Romans 8: 38-39)
Because Jesus is Lord, we are imprisoned by our past no more.
Because Jesus is Lord, we are no longer defined by the circumstances of our present.
Because Jesus is Lord, we do not fear the permanent loss of our future.
Today, in this Eucharist, we reach out in faith to touch the Lord of life,
and he comes to save us once again from all that threatens to destroy us.
He says to us: Rise up with me now to new life.
And he gives us something to eat, the very gift of Himself and a share in His life.
Fr. Joseph A. Jacobi