Courage and Faith

 

Fr.John greenThirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Year B

 

Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24
Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11, 12, 13
2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15
Mark 5:21-43

Courage and Faith (Mark 5:21-43)

The ministry of Jesus is constantly associated with God’s willingness to make humanity whole.  Countless people whose names we will never know came to seek the help of Jesus Christ and prayed for the healing they believed that he alone could give.  The woman afflicted with Paolo_Veronese_July-1hemorrhages had the courage to reach out and touch Jesus’ clothes.  Something within this woman told her that she would be healed by touching the hem of his garment.  She took a tremendous risk venturing out to experience the healing Lord.  She was taught through her Jewish faith that hemorrhages defiled her as a person and made her unclean.  If she was found walking around the community in this unclean state, she faced the danger of being stoned to death.  This unnamed woman has the courage to reach out for healing which defines her as a woman of faith.  Her courage and faith become her saving grace.  Jairus’ faith similarly leads to his daughter’s healing.  Jesus disregards the news of the little girl’s death, telling Jairus, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”  Jesus shows Jairus that he sees this situation in a different way.  Jesus does not see the twelve year old as dead, but asleep — waiting for the power of God to awaken her from sleep.  Jesus’ power gives her new life — her destiny is in his hands. Jesus then instructs those around her to take care of her temporal needs.

The same healing remains with the Church today.  Sometimes we have to have the courage to ask for healing, for what we ask in faith, we will receive.  The alcoholic cannot be healed unless he realizes he has a problem with alcohol.  The diabetic cannot be healed unless he admits that the need for help to regulate his sugar.  The one who is depressed cannot be helped without reaching out and admitting his difficulty.  Many things create disease in our lives.  The lack of forgiveness, holding on to resentment, and the wounds of past experiences cannot be healed by Christ unless we want them to.  Jesus always brings those who ask in faith to full stature of humanity and makes them whole.  He offers humanity a second chance to experience the newness of life.  Jesus says, “I say to you, arise”, offering us a way out of the burdens that come our way.  The words of Jesus still echo in the human heart as the Church proclaims His eternal Truth — Do not be afraid; just have faith!  We are not to be afraid when confronting the realities of our lives.  If we have done something wrong by sinning against God or another, we have to be contrite and ask for that forgiveness.  It is at such a sacramental moment, that we can rise above our sin.  When we commit ourselves to our Christian story, we are given the courage to rise above resentment and revenge and embrace the language of love that God really intended.  We are reminded that we are also intercessors for others.  Our faith and prayers can bring about miraculous events in our world.  It is through us that Christ speaks and peace becomes a reality.

image: Raising of Jairus’ Daughter by Paolo Veronese, 1546 (Wikimedia Commons)

Prayer

We pray: Heavenly Father, may we have the courage to acknowledge our need for you.  Without faith in you, O Lord, our lives are empty and are marked with struggle.  Let us open our lives to the reality of your love and your presence which brings healing.  Help us to reach out for your helping hand and enable us to help others with the constancy of our faith and prayers.  Amen.

Questions

How does God make your life wholesome?
What does it mean to be made in God’s image?
What do you find powerful about the two people in today’s gospel that come to Jesus looking for help?
How does the woman with the hemorrhage inspire you?
Name some of the things that need healed in your life.
Why do you think Jesus seeks the person who touched his garment?
In what ways has God given you the strength to rise above your suffering in the past?
How does God guide you each day to give others strength and courage?

Voices of Faith

Faith

When the twists and turns of life
lead you to a place of hurt
do not stay there, venture out
to discover the Healing Lord
Reach out and touch the hem of his garment

When things go wrong around you
and things start to fall apart
do not stay there, venture out
to discover the Healing Lord
Reach out and touch the hem of his garment

When death comes to visit
to take what is familiar, what is loved away,
do not stay there, venture out
to discover the Healing Lord
Reach out and touch the hem of his garment

When your faith begins to falter
and your confidence in God begins to fade
do not stay there, venture out
to discover the Healing Lord
Reach out and touch the hem of his garment

Clothed in a garment of mercy,
Jesus is a Companion to you
For he reaches into those places of hurt
into chaos, the absurdity of death, the uncertainty of doubt,
and fragile faith.
In Him is the power to understand, to heal,
to bring calm, hope and the fullness of life.
So reach out and touch the hem that is always close to you.

— Fr. John J. Ludden: “Peaceful Moments”

 

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