Reflection: 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B. July 1st, 2012

Jairus’ daughter was twelve years old, when the power of Jesus gave life back to her. The woman with the bleeding had suffered for twelve years,
when Jesus gave her back her health, and not only her health, but restored her once again to her community, from which she had been ostracised because of her blood-ailment. One was given back to her family, the other to her community, and both were profoundly affected by their encounter with Jesus. They got their lives back again!

Around the same time as Mark was putting this together in the near-final version of his Gospel, two of the leaders of the Christian communities were put to death: Simon, nick-named PETER (rock) by Jesus, was crucified, Paul was beheaded. We can scarcely imagine the shock and bewilderment of the early Christian community, around the Mediterranean. Jesus, the LORD had been put to death years earlier, but the community knew in their deepest faith that He was risen, and was with them. But now, to lose not only the two Apostles to martyrdom, but many other disciples, men and women and children, who were also martyred. It was hard to take, and many lost heart. So, Mark wrote his Gospel to put new heart into very frightened and confused disciples, telling them the Good News, ‘the Gospel about Jesus Christ, Son of God’ (Mark 1, verse 1)

The two events related in today’s Gospel are told to give us hope, and to give us the example of the power of faith in Jesus,- the faith and desperate pleading of the President of the Synagogue, Jairus, the girl’s father, and the faith of the woman who, in spite of all the men present, crept up and touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. Faced with such faith, in both people, power went out from Jesus. Mark is always presenting Jesus as the Son of God, the Son of Man, with power: a teacher, one who calls disciples, one who has authority over the evil spirits, and one who cures lots of people, through the power of God that was in him.

Jesus’ power still gives life, if we but ask or even ‘touch the hem of his garment’ with faith. In the face of all the opposition that disciples undoubtedly face daily today, Jesus Christ is Son of God, one of us, and teaches, calls, delivers, and heals with power. We just bring ourselves to him, with our needs, our illnesses of any kind, our dis-ease, and lay them before him in faith. Not a prayer of ours will go unanswered,- even if at times the answer is not what we would have preferred.

Jesus heals. Jesus gives us back our lives. Jesus restores us.

‘Lord, do come and lay your hands on us, that we may be saved and may live.’ (See Mark 5:23)

The Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul was celebrated on Friday, June 29th. They are both Patrons of Esker Church, and of the local parish church of Kiltullagh, Co. Galway. This goes back to the name of the Dominican Abbey Church in Athenry, founded in the 1200′s. The Dominicans later took refuge in the Esker area, during Penal Times, and built a monastery here in the 1700′s, and the present church c. 1840. The Redemptorists took over Esker c. 1903. 

Seamus Devitt C.Ss.R.

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