Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 WIS 1:13-15; 2:23-24
Responsorial Psalm PS 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11, 12, 13
- (2a)I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Reading 2 2 COR 8:7, 9, 13-15
Alleluia CF. 2 TM 1:10
- Alleluia, alleluia.
Homily—June 30 & July 1, 2018
If you have the opportunity to prepare yourselves to understand the readings every Sunday it is important to read what comes before and after each reading to better make sense of the reading. For example the first reading is from the Book of Wisdom this weekend and has verses from both the first and second chapter. I recommend that you take your Bible and read both chapters to get the context of the message. The verse before this passage in Wisdom 1:12 says “Do not court death by your erring way of life, nor draw to yourselves destruction by the works of your hands.” That opening sentence indicates that the author was calling his readers to take responsibility for the quality of their own lives. It claims that death and suffering are the results of deviation from God’s plan, they were not part of God’s original design. Remember that “God did not make death . . . But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world.”
The gospel today is described by some as a Markan sandwich: a story wrapped in another story. The story of the woman touching Jesus’ garment is sandwiched between the story of Jairus’s daughter being raised from the dead. It is interesting to compare the story of the healing of the woman in Mark’s gospel to Matthew’s account. For Matthew the woman merely thinks to herself that if she touches his garments she will be made well. Jesus then turns to her and says so. He is fully and completely aware which is not the case in Mark.
In this gospel account, Mark mentions touching seven times. The crowd “pressed” around Jesus. The woman believed that his touch would heal and she touched Jesus. Jesus asked twice who had touched him and finally, after the father had asked him to lay hands on her, Jesus took the little girl by the hand and raised her.
Both the woman and the girl’s father believed in the power of Jesus’ touch and both received its life-giving results. Certainly, many people touched Jesus with little effect—that’s exactly what the disciples were trying to tell him when he asked who had touched him. But like a child who instinctively comprehends the emotional message of a touch, when that woman touched him, Jesus knew that someone had sought and found something desperately needed.
The next step was for Jesus to seek her out. This may be the only time in the Gospels that Jesus sought someone he didn’t know, whom he could not call by name. The woman, comprehending what had happened to her and seeing Jesus looking around, presented herself before him, in effect, allowing him to enter into personal relationship with her. When she approached him face-to-face, like so many who encountered his power, she did so in fear and trembling. Mark says that “she told him the whole truth,” implying that she explained her situation, her hope, her audacious, unlawful decision and the wondrous result it brought. For the moment that was her whole truth: She was suffering, she had hoped for a cure and received it.
Jesus’ reply opened up a new life for her. As he had told others, he said that her faith had saved her and she was free to go in peace, cured of her illness. But Jesus said more—something utterly extraordinary. Jesus called her “daughter.” This is the only time in Mark’s Gospel that Jesus called someone “daughter.” He had called others his mother, sisters and brothers but never before or after did he address a person as his daughter.
The woman Jesus called his daughter is a representative of all people who reach out for Christ’s help, trusting that their plea will touch God and transform them.
From the Book of Wisdom to the Gospel of Mark we can see that death and suffering are the results of deviation from God’s plan, they were not part of God’s original design. Jesus raises the daughter of Jairus, the synagogue official, from death by saying “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
Jesus says the same to us today: Arise from your hatred. Arise from your blindness. Arise from your smallness. Arise from your prejudices. Arise from your fears.
When I went to the Holy Land of Israel from May 28 until June 5 I had some concerns. My first concern that one of our fellow travelers told me about was that we had only 1 hour and 20 minutes to leave our flight in London and go through immigration and find the gate for our next flight and get on it. Most everyone in our group had their carryon luggage searched. When we got to our gate they were loading the plane. I really began to relax when everyone of our group of 16 was seated on that flight. Then it was easier to put our pilgrimage into God’s hands.