13th Sunday (B)

Faith has the power to do the impossible

The Gospel of today is an unusual combination of two miracle stories; one is of healing and the other restoration of life.  The story of the woman with the flow of blood interrupts and is sandwiched in between the two parts of the account of Jairus and his daughter.  These miracles were worked by Jesus; as rewards for the trusting Faith of a synagogue ruler and of a woman with a hemorrhage.

The stories have several common features.  One woman is 12 years old, and the other has suffered for 12 years.  Both are called “daughter,” and both are in need of physical healing.  The girl’s father is encouraged to have Faith, and the older woman is praised for her Faith.  The two stories illustrate Jesus’ power over both chronic illness and death. In each healing, Jesus shows his marvelousgenerosity by giving the recipients life and salvation in addition to physical healing.

The faith-experiences of Jairus and the sick womanJairus: As the ruler of the synagogue, Jairus was a well-respected man in the local Jewish community.  He was the administrative head of the synagogue, the president of the board of elders and the one responsible for the conduct of the services.  He probably shared in the Pharisees’ prejudice that Jesus was a heretic and a wandering preacher to be avoided.  If so, the urgency of his need and the helplessness of the situation prompted him to forget his position, to swallow his pride and prejudice and to seek help from Jesus the wandering wonder-worker. The woman with a hemorrhage: The account tells ofa woman who came to Jesus with expectant Faith as a last resort, after trying every other cure known in her day.  The Mosaic Law (Lv. 15:25-27) declared her unclean and shut her off from the worship of God and the fellowship of her friends.  That may be why she decided to try to touch the tassels of Jesus’ garment secretly.

The Faith that was rewarded: The woman’s boldness in touching Jesus’ garment and her Faith in the healing power of Jesus was so strong that she risked breaking all the social rules to seek what she believed He could do for her.  By affectionately calling her “daughter,” Jesus established a relationship with her and gave her the assurance that she was healed:   “Daughter, your Faith has saved you.  Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”  In addition, she gained a personal relationship with Jesus as a member of his family (3:35).  By trusting in the power of God and doing His will, she was not only physically cured but was also fully restored to a normal religious and social life.  It was her deep Faith in Jesus symbolized by her touching the tassel of his garment that was a major factor in her healing.

The Faith that brought back life from death:As Jesus sent the woman to her house; Jairus received the shocking news of the death of his daughter.  But Jesus insisted on going to Jairus’ house and consoled the father saying, “Do not be afraid; only have Faith.”  The phrase, “Do not be afraid,”appears in the Bible 366 times. The crowd told Jairus: “Your daughter is dead.  Why trouble the teacher any further?” (35). But Jesus assured the crowd: “The child is not dead but sleeping,” meaning that the girl’s death was only temporary, and she would wake up at his call.  Jesus took the parents of the little girl with only Peter, James and John into the room, took the child by the hand and said to her, “‘Talitha koum,’ which means,‘Little girl, get up!’”  Those who had laughed Jesus to scornmust have been greatly amazed when they realized Jesus’ power.

Jesus lauds people for putting their faith in him. When we put our faith in Jesus we are opening our hearts to his presence. Jesus does not force himself into our lives, but he comes when he is invited. Prayer is our invitation to God to enter into our lives. Jairus invited Jesus into his home, and Jesus entered and healed his daughter. Healing is a complex issue because we don’ know the mind of God. Why some people are healed and others are not is a mystery that calls on a deep faith to accept. Sometimes we are attracted to various forms or methods of healing, but the power of Jesus cannot be confined, channeled or controlled by these. His healing is a gift to us that seems to come when we open our hearts and invite him into these situations. We are called to have the faith to invite Jesus into our lives, and allow his will to be done.

 

It is not only sickness that can knock us down, but also emotionally and psychologically. We can be knocked down by the hurts others inflict on us and by what they say or do to us. To begin the healing of these types of knocks I would like to recall for you the motto chosen by the Catholic Church for the Jubilee 2000, “Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) No matter when you were hurt, remembering that today, yesterday and tomorrow are the same for Jesus, ask him to walk back in time with you to the day when you suffered a particular hurt or received the news of your illness.

Precious Lord, take my hand Lead me on, let me standI’m tired, I’m weak, I’m lone

Through the storm, through the night Lead me on to the light

Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

When my way grows drear precious Lord linger near

When my light is almost gone Hear my cry, hear my call

Hold my hand lest I fall

Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home