Pastor Column, Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: July 1, 2018

Pastor Column, Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: July 1, 2018

Msgr. Joseph Tracy, St. Stanislaus Parish 

Dear friends / Estimados amigos,

            She did not just bump into Jesus. She carefully planned how to approach Him and get the miracle that she needed . . . A frustrated synagogue official approaches Jesus frantically because his young daughter is at death’s door. He implores Jesus to save her, after perhaps having waited by the Sea for Jesus’ return . . .

            Mark the Evangelist packs many things into today’s gospel reading. It moves at a near breathless pace. The apostles have weathered a terrible storm – which almost fills their boat with water – in the middle of the lake. Then Jesus cured a man of a demon, who fleas into a pack of pigs who meet their demise. After finally returning to Jewish territory after his travels in a foreign territory, Jesus encounters the two mentioned above, both of them desperate for a miracle. The Lord responds. First he immediately accepts Jairus’ plea for help for his daughter and heads right for his house, trailed by a curious crowd wanting to see what would happen.  Curiously, He stops in the middle of the bustle and asks who just touched Him.  While it may have seemed to many a nonsensical question, it soon becomes apparent why Mark highlights the incident.

            The minute she touched Jesus, the woman knew she was cured. After twelve years of wasting her monies on quacks and enduring years of isolation from the community (remember, she had a blood disease, and contact with blood was forbidden in Jewish Law), she finally had her cure. The outcast, impure woman became a public example of a faith in Jesus that heals and restores. She was summoned out of her anonymity by Jesus, who called her “daughter.” Presumably Jesus wanted Jairus and the crowd to witness what had happened. Her desperation was overcome by hopefulness.  Jesus told Jairus to put faith over fear, but the woman’s faith was so audacious that she broke religious taboos. She put faith in God’s goodness rather than the limitations put on her by the Law.

            Jairus received his miracle as well. Jesus led him through fear to faith, and he saw his daughter return to life. It is too bad we lose track of these characters after today. Was the woman one of the faithful woman who stayed with Jesus to the end? Did Jairus step up for Jesus when the leaders plotted against Him?  We will never know this side of heaven. But we do know their examples of faith, enough (perhaps) to help us contemplate the heart of Christ.