To Fear Only One Death

Jun 26, 2018


Gospel Reflection, 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B
Wisdom 1: 13–15; 2: 23-24; 2 Corinthians 8: 7, 9, 13-15; Mark 5: 21-43

To Fear Only One Death

Two miracles of Jesus are vividly recounted by Mark.  The people are flocking to Jesus.  His healings of the sick arouse many people’s hopes.  And how moving the synagogue ruler’s request is:  “My little daughter is at the point of death!”  His beloved child must not die!  No one can help except Jesus, and in his trouble he trusts him completely.

Among those who trust Jesus in the crowd on the way is a hemorrhaging woman.  She is ritually unclean and excluded from all religious life and not allowed to touch anyone.  After spending so much money on doctors who couldn’t help, she hopes to touch Jesus without anyone noticing.  Her touch does not go unnoticed by either the crowd or Jesus.  Both feel a power that is at work.  Jesus is looking for her not to expose her, but to praise her faith.

Faith is demanded of Jairus too.  He is told by Jesus that his child is not dead:  “Do not fear, only believe.”  He wakes the child with one word that the community remembers:  “Talitha cumi!”  Jesus works miracles for these two among many and their stories were written down so that we may know his power and his love.  He lets us see who he is.  He is the Savior who heals what is wrong.  Wherever he comes, healing and wholeness take place.  He heals bodily illness, and even up to today, miracles of this kind are happening through his power.  The accounts of his works have filled libraries and now he lets himself be touched by us too.

In all the sacraments and especially the Eucharist, we touch, not merely the hem of his garment, but his very self.  And a power goes out from him that can heal the body and fill our souls.  A lowly woman stands for all time as an example of faith that has the confidence to approach him and touch him. 

He says, “The child is only sleeping.”  We should not be afraid of the “sleep” of death.  The only thing that we have to be afraid of is the “second death”, the eternal separation from God.  That is why there is nothing more urgent than to trust in Jesus wholly and completely and to believe in him.  Let us approach him like the hemorrhaging woman and like Jairus eagerly and with devotion in order that we may experience his power and love.

 Father Tony