Reflection for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2024

Reflection for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 30, 2024


Every culture has unwritten rules: expectations that aren’t official, but it would be unacceptable to act in certain ways. For example: in America, most of us wouldn’t think of ringing the doorbell of a new coworker’s home on Saturday and say, “Hi, I brought donuts and lattes for us. Let’s have breakfast in your kitchen and get to know each other.” In Jesus’ time there were expectations as well. A man had to be very careful about the way he interacted with any woman. Likewise, women had to know their place, and it wasn’t a very nice place. But Jesus wasn’t going to be bound by any expectation that would cause a wounded person to be further wounded.


When the woman who ‘had an issue of blood’ (a situation never spoken of in public, and which somehow made a woman offensive to men} decided to sneak up to Jesus and just touch the hem of His garment, she was taking a huge chance (Mark 5: 21-43). She was careful, though. She felt she didn’t need to let Him know she was touching Him—taboo for a person like herself—yet she was convinced she would be healed all the same.  Such faith! And such courage! And Jesus ‘wheels about’ and asks, Who touched my clothes? Imagine her immediate interior response: she was found out! She might be stoned for touching Him if her condition became known.  And she, a woman, should never have touched a man in any case! But her need was stronger than her fear. Perhaps, rather, her love was stronger than the cultural mores she had been living by for twelve years.  So she fell at His feet ‘confessed everything.’  What strength of character THAT must have been taken! Can we see and hear this encounter? The crowd must have fallen into a deafening silence, leaning in to hear the whole story, waiting to hear what the Master would say. Would He pick up the first stone, shake the ritual impurity off His clothes right in her face? Begin a sermon (He loved giving sermons) there on the spot about cultural propriety (and, in this case, the Mosaic Law)? The woman (without a name, after all these centuries) must have held her breath. She had such hope in Him. What does Jesus do? He says to her, ‘Woman, your faith has saved you.’ Isn’t that just like Jesus? Who cares about what others think? I love you and I care about you and I’m not afraid of you. Hooray for God!


But in the mean time there’s this story about the Synagogue official whose daughter is dying. He comes to Jesus and says “Come, lay your hand on her so that she may live.” Jesus wasn’t on the parish council in that synagogue, or any other for that matter! The Jewish leaders were suspicious of Him for the most part, and tried to keep a low profile when it came to Jesus. But this one, Jairus, comes openly to Him to ask for help. Hmmm. Someone might think (and I have heard this over and over), I’m not too faithful in my day to day life. How can I ask for something so important now when I’m desperate, and expect Jesus to answer?  But that’s not how Jesus sees it. Jesus teaches us that it’s not a bad thing to ask for what you need, no matter what your relationship with Him has been. If you can step away from your doubt or your lack of communication with Him, or your anger with Him for past unanswered prayers, and turn to Him, He loves that! He’s not a harrumph kind of god. He is our God who says I have been waiting for you to come to Me. This story shows us that He wants to help us in our need.


Jairus gets a message that his little girl has died, but Jesus tells him not to worry. And he doesn’t. Jesus goes into the room, takes the dead child’s hand and raises her up, then tells her parents to give her something to eat. That’s the story. No more, no less, just Jesus raising to life a child of a man who works in a faith system that’s hostile to Him. No matter. He gives us what we need. That’s enough for Him.


May He be enough for you and for me.


God bless you. Have a safe and blessed Fourth of July.

“With Mary, our lives continually proclaim the greatness of the Lord and the joy experienced in rendering service to Him.”

Holy Rule

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