Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection June 30, 2024


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R/. I will extol you, O Lord, for you have raised me up

V/. Alleluia

R/. Alleluia

V/. Our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

R/. Alleluia.

At that time, when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

1.       Very often, faith is regarded as one’s credit.  That is why, we hear compliments like, “Oh, what a faith he has! Oh how great is her faith!” This can easily give an impression that faith is one’s greatness. This is actually a defective conception. The focus should not be on the person who believes but on God whom one believes. The greatness is not of the one who pleads and receives from God, but of God who listens and gives.

2.       In fact, the more faith thinks nothing of itself, the more it is creditable. In other words, a person with true faith must always be humble. He must be deeply conscious of his unworthiness and littleness. One may be great and big in the sight of the world. But before God, before His greatness and holiness, we are all unworthy and undeserving. This is not self-deprecation or self-lowering, that may be negative as poor self-esteem. This is a realistic self-realization and self-acceptance.

3.       Therefore, when faith is devoid of humility, it cannot be sincere and profound. It can easily become arrogant and even self-righteous. Such a humility-lacking faith would make even God’s grace a necessary result of its greatness and not of God’s benevolence. Certainly, very often, Jesus praises the faith of those who seek favours from him. And today’s gospel also, he compliments the faith of one ruler of a synagogue and one woman with haemorrhage. Jesus does the healing and gives the credit to their faith.

4.       However, this does not mean that it is their faith that does things happen. It is God who makes things happen. Their faith is great in the sense that they are totally open to receive God’s power. Therefore, the greatness of faith does not lie in the person himself but in God. In other words, faith becomes great when there is humility, trust and surrender.

5.       In this sense, let us reflect on the two healings in the gospel: the raising from death to life of the daughter of Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, and the healing of a woman with haemorrhage. Truly the faith of the official and that of the woman is praiseworthy and meritorious. They place their total trust in Jesus’ power and compassion. The official believes. He firmly thinks it is enough that Jesus lays his hands over his daughter. When he approached Jesus, she was at the point of death, and as he was rushing home with Jesus to heal her, she was already dead. But even then, he believes and takes Jesus to his home.

6.       His faith is marked by a deep humility. Seeing Jesus, he falls at his feet and beseeches him. He keeps aside all his authority as a ruler of the synagogue. He does not consider it below his dignity to bend his knee before Jesus. Deep within, he acknowledges and believes the power of Jesus that is far superior to his own as a ruler. He knows that the divine and spiritual power of Jesus surpasses his worldly power. Such a genuine humility is accompanied by an unswerving trust in Jesus’ merciful power. That is why he pleads with Jesus, “Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live”.

7.       The woman with the bleeding disease too believes. She firmly thinks it is enough that she touches the edge of his cloak. Unlike Jairus, her approach to Jesus was a silent act. She touches Jesus’ garment from behind and gets instant healing. But she confesses the healing at Jesus’ query, “Who touched me?”

8.       What is very remarkable in their faith is the extremity of their condition. The ruler believes in Jesus, even at death point, and the woman believes in Jesus even after 12 long years. Even in their most desperate situations, they do not give up hope. There were funebrial cries all around Jairus’ house. And the woman consulted every possible doctor and spent her every penny over her haemorrhage. Both were facing the most desperate and depressing situations.

9.       We can also note on the part of Jesus a couple of simple but significant factors. He shows a personal concern. He goes personally to the house of the ruler. There was a great crowd around him. He was fully engaged. But he does not turn down the plea of the ruler. He takes the girl by the hand as he brings her back to life. He also tells the people to give her something to eat. Yes, Jesus never rejects our pleas. He listens to us. Of course at times, we may not get what we pray for. But that does not mean that he does not care for us. His goodness to us cannot be calculated only in terms of favours.

10.   Another factor is he always transmits his power upon us. It is this power that went to the diseased woman and healed her and raised to life Jairus’ daughter. Further, what is striking is that he seeks no recognition or fame. What a fantastic miracle of raising from death! It is the best means and time to shoot into gigantic popularity. But, he tries to minimize the glory of it, by saying that the girl is not dead but is just sleeping. He puts all the crowd outside the girl’s room, except the girl’s parents and his three disciples Peter, James and John. After the miracle, he strictly charges them not to tell anyone. What a contrast to many of us that do a drop but do bundles of publicity and get mountains of popularity!

11.   At the end of all, what is needed from our part is to approach him in deepest trust and get into the realm of his touch. Jesus’ touch transmits power that gives new life. The diseased woman begins a new life with health, joy and serenity. The ruler’s daughter receives a second life.

12.   Today, Jesus continues the same life-giving words that he pronounced to the dead girl, “Talitha cumi”, “Little girl, I say to you, arise”. Just as the girl instantly got up and walked, so too we must constantly allow Jesus to lay his hands and touch us. Once touched and healed, we must get up and walk steady and sane.

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