13th Sunday – Year B – Ordinary Time

Mark 5.21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the synagogue leaders named Jairus came and, when he saw Jesus, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, ‘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.’So Jesus went with him.And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?” ‘He looked all round to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. Jesus said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further? ‘But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, ‘Do not fear, only believe.’ Jesus allowed no one to follow. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, ‘Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him. Then Jesus put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha cum’,
which means, ‘Little girl, get up!’ And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about for she was twelve years of age. At this they were overcome with amazement. Jesus strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Reflection, by Fr Aldo, sx

Beyond the miracles there is a sign. Let us try to see it! The stories are about two women: one was 12 years old and about to die; the other was suffering of an illness that made her impure for 12 years. Mark intentionally emphasizes the number 12.  We should know that 12 is the number that represents Israel because it had been composed by 12 tribes. In fact when Jesus chose the 12 Apostles he was symbolically choosing the whole of Israel.

Therefore, both the impure woman and the girl deprived of life represent the condition in which the people of Israel find themselves. The spiritual leaders of the people are not only unable to heal, as they repulsively turn their backs on those in a miserable situation without favoring an encounter with the One who could communicate salvation.

Differently from all others, Jesus allowed himself to be touched by ever everyone, even by the impure ones, those whom everybody else would be afraid of, because they meant death.

A woman touched him from the back secretly hoping it to remain unnoticed, but Jesus called her to the front.  Jesus did not mean to scold her, but on the contrary, to acknowledge publicly what she did. That woman in reality represents the condition of everyone else in that crowd around him.  But she was the only one who acknowledged that she needed to be healed. All the others were thinking that they were pure and all they had to do was to be careful so not to touch anyone, and keep their clean status.

Even today huge crowds receive communion in the Church, but certainly those who are really touched by the Eucharist are not so many, if there is any at all. The attitude and motivation of the crowd today is not so different from those surrounding Jesus.  The physical touch is not enough, many in fact were touching Jesus. But that particular nameless woman had something different that was felt by Jesus and pleased him. What that woman had is what we all should have.

Jairus is an example of someone who had the same faith as that woman. He also believed that Jesus could bring healing to his daughter. Even when everybody else believed that she was dead and try to convince him not to bother Jesus, that there is no point in insisting, that the situation is hopeless… he kept on listening to Jesus who said: “Do not be afraid, but believe.”

That is it! To have faith means being able to see life starting again even in those thought of being dead by all others.  So, what is the sign behind the miracles?

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