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Monday, January 30, 2012

Sparkles of Light (Mk 5:21-43)

31 January 2012, Tuesday, 4th Week of the Year


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.

There was a woman afflicted with haemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, "If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured." Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who has touched my clothes?" But his disciples said to him, "You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask who touched me?" And he looked around to see who had done it.  The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction."

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.

Mk 5:21-43

            Today’s Gospel is a long story about the healing power of Jesus.  There are two healing stories here.  The main one is about curing Jairus’ daughter and the other one is an inclusion from the main story, the healing of the woman with the haemorrhages.  And it was amazing that when the woman touched the clothes of Jesus, she was healed from her painful and long-time sickness.  Jesus was so powerful that after the woman touched him, he noticed that his powers seemed to be “lessened.”  There are two things we can reflect about this -- one would be the healing power of Jesus and the other one is the deep faith of the woman.

            Jesus, as part of his ministry, is doing a lot of miracles and healing during his time.  His heart is always with those who are poor, the sick, the outcast and the sinners.  It is by this kind of work that Jesus reveals himself as the Son of God, the Christ.  However, in Mark’s style of writing, Jesus doesn’t want others to know about the wonders he performed.  It invites us to believe in Jesus, as oppose to his disciples who have witnessed his wonders, yet still doesn’t truly know who is Jesus.  Do you only believe in Jesus if our prayers are answered?  How deep is your faith in Jesus?      

            This brings us then to the woman with haemorrhages.  As Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction."  Indeed, through her faith in Jesus, the woman was cured.  But what caught my attention was the deep faith of this woman.  I believe that she had such deep faith, that even Jesus felt that his power was “lessened” because the woman touched him.  This is an invitation for us that faith must also be translated into action.  We must do something in order to share and grow in our faith.

            As Filipino Catholics, signs and symbols are very important in our faith and tradition.  Perhaps outsiders would react to people in our community who kiss, touch, wipe their handkerchiefs at the statues of Jesus, our Blessed Mother or the saints.  I honestly admire them for such faith and devotion.  However, I remind some of my friends who have such practices that this is not magic.  That after doing such acts would immediately cure a sickness or solve their problems.  No.  It is faith that will bring about real miracle and healing in our lives.  And in whatever form it comes to us and when it comes to us, it is only whatever is enough, that which is given to us.      

            St. John Bosco, pray for us.

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