Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectio Divina, June 27, 2021
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat
to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
“My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live.”
He went off with him,
and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.
While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said,
“Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
“Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep.”
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child’s father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,”
which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.
“If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”
Faith is so simple, but so often our doubts complicate things. Over and over again, Jesus tells those who want to follow him to just have faith, and they still struggle to do so. Then again, so do I in everyday circumstances. I try to solve problems my own way, try to make things happen without relying on God and his grace. This Gospel passage is a reminder that I don’t need to depend on myself. I do not to solve the problems in my life on my own. I just need to have faith like this woman had.
your faith has saved you.
Does faith alone save me? In this Gospel passage, faith leads the hemorrhaging woman to take action. Is there really any other kind of faith? The one who says they have faith needs to prove it with their deeds, or else their claim is just words. How often do I claim to have faith but fail to demonstrate it in my actions? When I am struggling with sin, or an illness, or a tragedy, do I believe strongly enough that God can provide a way out if I simply reach out to him for help? Am I humble enough to ask him for help?
Disregarding the message that was reported …
Sometimes we do have to disregard the comments and reports from other people when they cast doubt upon a situation where faith and hope are needed. Keeping doubt out of the equation seemed to be a vital part of Jesus’ strategy here. He tells only his inner-circle disciples and the child’s father and mother to come into the room with him. He quells any signs of distrust in his power. He wants only those who believe he can help the girl to be there with him. Also, after she rises from the bed, Jesus orders everyone in the room to tell no one about what happened. Ultimately, the people’s doubt that he is the Son of God is what leads to Jesus’ passion and death. For those who choose not to believe in him, Jesus’ power is just a threat to either their power or the powers they believe in. Therefore, they will do anything to deny him and who he is, even if that means lying. Nonbelievers will claim that it is by the power of the devil that he casts out demons, and perhaps even heals people. Nonbelievers will twist the truth to the point where their explanations are harder to believe than the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. It’s no wonder why Jesus wanted to keep this miracle a closed affair between the family members of the girl and his inner circle of disciples. Doubting God can have some serious side effects, because when we doubt him we tend to put our faith in other things.
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
Again Jesus emphasizes the simplicity and the need for faith. I can almost hear his tone of voice. My fears and doubts get in the way of me seeing the simple truth that God is with me and willing to perform miracles in my life. His tone of voice is like that of a father who asks why I didn’t call him for help, for example, when my car broke down. He knows I can’t fix it on my own, and he knows that in my pride I resolved to try and do so anyway. Like a loving Father, God says, “Just call me. I will be there for you and I will help you.”
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
It’s important to have the right people around us. Jesus’ inner circle--Peter, James and John-- played a special role in Christ’s ministry. He confided in them more than any other disciples. Jesus didn’t let anyone in the room with him and the dead girl except those who had strong enough faith. This contributed to the miracle. Would Jesus have been able to perform the miracle without them? Perhaps. Would he have been able to perform the miracle if there were people who doubted him in the room? We can’t know for sure, but we do know that his choice of company is very intentional. He singled out the three disciples and the girl’s family members. It may have been just because their souls were prepared to experience the miracle. When Jesus goes to his hometown of Nazareth, he couldn’t perform many miracles because of the people’s lack of faith. There is a great mystery behind miracles, but one thing is for certain: faith in God plays a vital part in them.
They ridiculed him
If they knew who he was they would not have ridiculed him. If I heard a stranger say that a dead person is just sleeping, I may have ridiculed the stranger too. It’s easy to count ourselves among those who believed Jesus could bring the dead back to life, or heal the sick and wounded. But the majority of people in this Gospel passage believed he could not save her, and it’s much more realistic to count myself among that majority. The Gospel has much more to teach us when we identify with the characters who are wrong, and--if I’m being honest with myself--my own mindset is usually more akin to the mindset of those who are wrong in the Gospels than to those who are right. I have hindsight, but if I were there with Jesus at that moment before he healed the girl, would I have been among the few who believed that he could heal her?
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank you for everything you have given us, including the gift of faith. I am sorry for the times I failed to trust you, to believe in you, and to put my life in your hands. I pray for the courage to put you in the center of my life so all I do glorifies you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
In order for God to do wonders in our lives we need to step aside, listen to his direction and act accordingly. Take this time to listen to what God is saying to you in this moment.
David Kilby is a freelancer writer from New Jersey and managing editor of Catholic World Report.
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