by Fr D Mazibuko OSM
Thirteenth Sunday of the Year
This Sunday theme is about life and God being the author of life. From the very beginning of creation, God wanted us to live a long and healthy life. And God gave us the freedom to make our own choices. Therefore, all that ruins or diminishes this gift is a result of the choices we make. The gospel attests to the theme in that we see Jesus bringing to life two people who were in lifeless situations. Having faith in God and in His power can give life in the different challenges life presents us.
First Reading Ws 1:13-15;2:23-25
The first reading is centered on life and death. God gives life and the devil takes life away. In the beginning God created human beings in His image. Death entered the world through sin. Does this this mean that if sin did not enter into the world, would humans live forever? The answer is no, for the reality of a physical death has always existed, for the human body wears out with age and time. Our human reality is not a perfect one. This imperfection is caused or comes about through sin. Each time we make a selfish choice, death is at work in us. Each time we do not choose wisely sin takes over our life. God did not create us for imperfection. He created us and destined us for a better life, a better world where imperfection does not exist. The answer lies in the choices we make daily. The book of Wisdom talks about those who are just that they never ‘die’ but that their life is ended. God brings them to another world and they live in the fullness of God’s presence. The reading concludes by stating that death is experienced by those who are partners with the devil. The same can happen to us even today when we they stop loving or caring for our neighbour or when we become self-centred. God created us to live even though the devil tries to take life away from us. God will always bring us back to life, for He is a God of life.
Second Reading 2 Cor 8:7,9,13-15
A Christian cannot lead a life of plenty and let other Christians go hungry. This is the message we get from the second reading. Paul appeals to the Christians of Corinth to be generous to those among them who are in need. Communities of today therefore are invited to live out this message. An attitude of sharing within the Christian family, by Christians is the witness today’s world needs. Paul gives the example of Christ who was rich and himself poor to enrich humanity. This is a lesson for us not to keep to ourselves what we have received from God, for God wishes that we share with the less privileged this spirit of sharing will close the gap of the ‘haves and have not’ in society. Paul’s message encourages the spirit of equality in a world that draws the line of those who have and those who have none at all.
Gospel Mk 5:21-43
In the gospel we hear of two miracles that happened on the same day, where Jesus brings to life two different people. The first miracle takes place while Jesus is on the way to Jairus’s house. Jairus was one of the leaders during this time. He comes to Jesus to ask him to heal his twelve year old daughter. On the way to Jairus’s house, a woman who had been suffering from a haemorrhage for years receives a miraculous healing. No doctor had been able to cure her. This must have been a tiresome and humiliating experience for her. A woman suffering from loss of blood was alienated from the community, for she was considered “unclean”. She could participate in community feasts and assemblies. If anyone had contact with her they would need to undergo purification rites prior to resuming their normal life. Indeed illness separates us from our loved ones, and this could for last a long time.
However we learn from the gospel that Jesus was not afraid of being touched by a sick or ‘impure’ person. Whatever form of sickness does not in any way make anyone ‘impure’. Jesus invites the healed woman to stand in the middle of all the people as a way of saying to her and the community there was one of them and that there was no reason to ashamed of her state, for before God we are considered pure. Jesus invites us today never to shy away when we meet a sick person or a person in need of help. As Baptised Christians, we must have a heart to assist and embrace the sick and those in need. The healed woman had faith. She believed that Jesus would heal her. And when she had the moment to express her faith she did, and her prayer was answered. Indeed if we come to Jesus believing in his healing power we shall receive healing too.