Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Lectionary: 98

June 30, 2018

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 98

Reading 1 Wis 1:13-15; 2:23-24

God did not make death,
nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.

For he fashioned all things that they might have being;
and the creatures of the world are wholesome,
and there is not a destructive drug among them
nor any domain of the netherworld on earth,
for justice is undying.
For God formed man to be imperishable;
the image of his own nature he made him.
But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world,
and they who belong to his company experience it.

-This passage attempts to explain the what and why of death.  Like most Wisdom Literature, Sirach was written to form the young in right thinking about life.  Sadly, it is not nearly as well known or used by young or old to understand the mysteries of life.

-The beauty of creation is the work of God.  Death is an un-doing of that work, but just as death and corruption prepare the way for new life in the natural world, all the more so God desires to turn our difficulties into opportunities, and even our death into birth.  How awesome is our good God in doing this for us!

Responsorial Psalm Ps 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11, 12, 13

  1. (2a) I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
    I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
    and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.

O LORD, you brought me up from the netherworld;
you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.

For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.

  1. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
    Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
    O LORD, be my helper.
    You changed my mourning into dancing;
    O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
    R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Reading 2 2 Cor 8:7, 9, 13-15

Brothers and sisters:
As you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse,
knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you,
may you excel in this gracious act also.
For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor,
so that by his poverty you might become rich

Not that others should have relief while you are burdened,
but that as a matter of equality
your abundance at the present time should supply their needs,
so that their abundance may also supply your needs,
that there may be equality.
As it is written:
“Whoever had much did not have more,
and whoever had little did not have less.”

-Finding right balance in every aspect of life is so important for living well.  However, this is not just an individualistic project but it involves the whole human family.  Whenever I pass by “Cube Smart” here in Malvern or any other of the many other public storage facilities in the area I wonder how folks could have so much stuff that such things are needed.  I suppose those who live in apartments or who are in transition of some other kind might need these things but is there such a thing as having too much?  How many sets of clothes do we really need?  

-Previously, I have referenced the TV show “Hoarders”, a program I could not bring myself to watch nor could I imagine how anyone could find it entertaining.  There is a kind of “spiritual hoarding” that can happen when we focus more on getting from God than giving back to God.  Imagine someone with his or her arms loaded down with junk and you want to give them something really valuable but can’t as they are already loaded up.  This may be how God sees us as so loaded with things and activities and stresses that we have not room for what He desires to give.  Psalm 46:10 tells us to “be still and know that I am God”.  So, don’t just do something, stand there; empty your heart and mind and schedule so that you can discover anew how great and good is our God.

Alleluia Cf. 2 Tm 1:10

  1. Alleluia, alleluia.
    Our Savior Jesus Christ destroyed death
    and brought life to light through the Gospel.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 5:21-43 or 5:21-24, 35b-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat
to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
“My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live.”
He went off with him,
and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors
and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak.
She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”
Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,
turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?”
But his disciples said to Jesus,
You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,
and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’

And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her,
approached in fear and trembling.
She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

-Human touch is a vital means of communication, of connection with others.  Physically, many touched Jesus.  Only one touched with the desire to connect, out of need for healing.

-The physical condition with which this woman was afflicted was one of many that made on ritually “unclean” and required her to remain in isolation from the community.  There was shame at work in her, both for the intimate nature of her difficulty but also the presumed judgement that this was punishment for having sinned in some way.  Isolation may not always be rooted in shame, but it is an epidemic in our culture.  Sure, folks connect with texts and Facebook posts, etc. but the real need for intimacy and personal connection is buried under so much electronic distraction that over time we can lose the ability to connect in healthy ways.  “hook-up sex” destroys the ability for people to connect in healthy ways.  The addiction to fantasy lessens the skills needed for genuine and lasting relationships to form.

-Shame is healed by taking the risks of vulnerability with another.  There is no other way.  Chemicals may make you feel less but not better.  The risk this woman took is the same we must all take to be healed and restored and liberated from isolation.

While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said,
“Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
“Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep.”
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child’s father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,”
which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.

-Notice that an act of both humility and courage was the first step to experiencing the healing power of God.  What might you do today to prepare to receive a divine intervention in your own life?

-As the woman suffered for twelve years, now we have a child who has lived for the same length of time.  Childhood come to an end with the onset of puberty.  Her life ends until Jesus arrives to awaken her.  Not only is the girl blessed by this miracle but also so are her parents and so many others who certainly would rejoice as intensely as they wept previously.  Except that Jesus gave orders to say nothing about this event.  Why do you think that is?  Had this news gotten out too soon, folks would soon be demanding that Jesus empty out whole cemeteries. As with others who were restored to life, this girl would someday need to face death again at some point.  Jesus did not enter human history to empty out cemeteries any more than He came to make medical science obsolete, but rather he came to transform death into birth.  This was to happen through His own dying and rising and until then folks would not properly understand.

-How prepared are you for death?  Beyond the purchase of life insurance and making out a will, many of us do very little about this most certain event in our lives.  What are you willing to do to get ready?  St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote a wonderful book entitled “Preparation for Death” that I discovered eleven years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer.  It was a great help to me and I highly recommend it to my readers, both young and old. 


Fr. John



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