13th Sunday of Ordinary Time (B).
THE FAITH OF JAIRUS AND THE WOMAN WITH HEMORRHAGE.
This Sunday’s Gospel presents to us two wonderful miracles performed by Our Lord: the resurrection of Jairus’ daughter and the healing of the woman sick with hemorrhage for 12 years.
Both Jairus and the sick woman manifested their FIRM FAITH AND ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE IN JESUS’ OMNIPOTENCE:
• “Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, HE FELL AT HIS FEET, and besought him, saying, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live (Mc 5:22-23.’”
• “She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, ‘If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well (Mc 5:27-28).’”
On the other hand, Our Lord was impressed by the determined exteriorized manifestation of faith of Jairus and the sick woman on God’s omnipotence.
• In Jairus’ case, Jesus seeing him fall at his feet…”went with Him”.
• In the woman’s case, Jesus exclaimed: “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease (v.34).”
We have a lot to learn from the examples of Jairus and the woman sick of hemorrhage for 12 years.
1. Both cases, considered from a human viewpoint, can be considered hopeless cases, after having put all the possible human means. But Jesus performed these miracles moved by their FIRM FAITH to demonstrate His Divinity, as in all other miracles in the Gospel.
• In our present world very much influenced by positivism, MIRACLES STILL DO HAPPEN (they are actually a prerequisite for the beatification and canonization). As St. Josemaria wrote:
“I’m not one for miracles. I have told you that in the holy Gospel I can find more than enough to confirm my faith. But I can’t help pitying those Christians — pious people, ‘apostles’ many of them — who smile at the idea of extraordinary ways, of supernatural events. I feel the urge to tell them: Yes, this is still the age of miracles: we too would work them if we had faith!(The Way, nn. 583)”
• ONLY GOD CAN PERFORM THEM BUT BEFORE DOING SO, HE ASKS FROM US A FIRM DEMONSTRATION OF FAITH.
• Let us not forget though that GOD NORMALLY WORKS IN AN ORDINARY and UNSPECTACULAR WAY and as Christians, we should believe that God is always ready to help us to surmount the difficulties and obstacles we face in our path towards holiness. He also wants us TO EMPLOY ALL THE HUMAN AND SUPERNATURAL MEANS WITHIN OUR REACH.
• Nevertheless, if God sees it convenient or even necessary, He will always be disposed to work miracles, directly or indirectly (through the prayer and intercession of His instruments, i.e., His saints and the prayer of other people).
GOD IS THE SAME AS ALWAYS. IT IS MEN OF FAITH THAT ARE NEEDED: AND THEN, THERE WILL BE A RENEWAL OF THE WONDERS WE READ OF IN THE GOSPEL. ECCE NON EST ABBREVIATA MANUS DOMINI, GOD’S ARM, HIS POWER, HAS NOT GROWN WEAKER!
(The Way, n 58 586)”
2. We can’t help but notice the beautiful GESTURES of Jairus and the sick woman recounted in the Gospel, both of which are EXTERNAL MANIFESTATIONS OF THEIR UNDOUBTING FAITH AND CONFIDENCE IN JESUS’ DIVINITY. JAIRUS FELL AT HIS FEET; the SICK WOMAN TOUCHED JESUS’ GARMENTS. St. Ambrose, commenting on the woman’s gesture wrote:
“She touched the hem of his garment, she approached him in a spirit of faith, she believed, and she realized that she was cured… SO WE TOO, IF WE WISH TO BE SAVED, SHOULD REACH OUT IN FAITH TO TOUCH THE GARMENT OF CHRIST” (St Ambrose, Expositio Evangelii sec. Lucam, VI, 56. 58).
3. OUR LORD, AS HUMAN AND DIVINE AS HE IS, HAS A HEART AND LONGS FOR THE PHYSICAL DEMONSTRATION OF OUR FAITH, LOVE AND AFFECTION. This is the reason why bodily gestures are manifestations of prayer as well: WE SHOULD LEARN HOW TO PRAY WITH OUR ENTIRE BEING, I.E., WITH OUR BODY AS WELL. Liturgical gestures have a spiritual significance. This is the reason why
• why we kneel during the Consecration as a show of adoration, or during the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament (unless someone has physical impossibility to kneel, for example, a person suffering from gout)
• and also why we genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament when we pass by in front of the Tabernacle;
• why priests kiss the altar at the beginning of the Holy Mass since the altar symbolizes Christ;
• why we strike our breast during the Penitencial rite (“I confess”) as a sign of acknowledgment of one’s sins and repentance;
• or why we bow when we say in the Creed, “born of the Virgin Mary”;
• why we kiss Cross, not in itself, but in all it represents;
• or , why we glance at His images with affection;
• why we bow when we pass in front of the altar;
• why we must maintain proper decorum and posture inside the Church, which is a house of prayer, as a sign of respect…
ALL THESE ARE SMALL DETAILS, BUT LET US NOT FORGET THAT, THE SAME AS IN HUMAN DEALINGS, OUR LOVE FOR GOD, LIKEWISE, CONSISTS IN SMALL DETAILS SHOWN WITH AFFECTION.
Dear friends, let us ask the Blessed Trinity to grant us A FIRM, UNDOUBTING FAITH IN HIS OMNIPOTENCE ─All-Powerful!─ without forgetting that He normally works in an ordinary and hidden manner and expects from us as well to put both the human and supernatural means.
Moreoever, may WE ALSO LEARN TO PRAY WITH OUR BODILY GESTURES WHICH are NOT ACTIONS DEVOID OF SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE, BUT RATHER THE OPPOSITE: they should be done as external manifestations of our faith and putting our mind, heart and body.
Let us not forget as well that WE HAVE SOMETHING MORE THAN THE GARMENT OF CHRIST: OUR LORD’S REAL PRESENCE IN THE EUCHARIST! Not only can we touch Him, but receive Him as well in our body and soul in grace….God in our body and soul! And Jesus longs for us, for our presence, for our details of love and affection, our frequent dealing and contact through prayer, sacraments… LOVE KNOWS HOW TO INVENT!
Are we willing to show our faith, love and affection for Our Lord in small details and through concrete deeds daily?
Take care and God bless you and your loved ones!
-Fr. Rolly Arjonillo.
FOR TODAY’S SUNDAY MASS READINGS, CLICK HERE.