RESTORING DIGNITY AND LIFE TO ISRAEL – 1 July 2018 – 13TH Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)

Wis 1:13-15; 2:23-24; 2 Cor 8:7; 9:13-15; Mk 5:21-43

Fr Fernando Armellini SCJ
Claretian Publications, Macau

The passage proposes two miracles: one, the healing of a sick woman and the other, raising the daughter of Jairus. These miracle stories carry hidden signs. The unnamed woman is impure for twelve years. The evangelist highlight the number twelve. Remember, the age of Jairus’ daughter: “She was twelve years old” Twelve is the symbol of the people of ‘Israel’, which is a feminine name.

The impurity of the woman and the absence of life of the child indicate the dramatic condition of the woman Israel whose spiritual leaders are not only unable to cure her of the illness, but feels revulsion and isolates her.

Jesus, instead, lets himself be approached, touched and does not run to undergo the ritual purifications prescribed in the book of Leviticus. There is no physical or moral disease that justifies the refusal or that constitutes a hindrance to approach God. Before God, all are sinful. But, all impurities are healed by Christ. Only the hypocrites consider themselves holy and raise barriers so as not to be united with sinners. They do not need to “touch” Jesus. They delude themselves that they are already in perfect health.

The attitude of Christ towards the woman is an invitation to never feel discomfort, or flee from those who are considered impure. The Christian is not afraid of losing his dignity or reputation by approaching or letting oneself be touched by persons avoided by others.

In the second miracle we are not faced with a serious illness, but a desperate situation, leading to death. Humanly speaking, it seems there is nothing more to expect, but Jesus advises the ruler of the synagogue: “Do not fear, just believe.”

Here is the unheard message: his power to give life does not stop even in front of man’s greatest enemy, death.

Then he wants to tell us, for those who have faith in him, there are no unrecoverable situations. In the face of little mistakes, venial sin, we have no difficulty in admitting that faith in Christ can achieve good results. However, when you come across people who have completely ruined their lives, who are basically depraved and practically “dead,” we keep repeating: “Why trouble the Master any further?”

To these people who are tempted to lose hope, something can still change. Jesus says: “Do not fear; just believe.” Whoever believes in him will see, even today, all those who are considered permanently “dead” rise to a new life.

Translated by Fr John Ledesma SDB
Abridged by Fr Jijo Kandamkulathy CMF