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Celebrating the Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Taking her by the hand he said to her, "Tal'itha cu'mi"; which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise." And immediately the girl got up and walked (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 (Mk 5:41-42).

This week's Gospel is from St. Mark 5:21-43 or 5:21-24, 35-43.

Today's gospel gives us two further proofs of the divine power and the infinite mercy of our Savior. Apart from the primary purpose of proving his claim to be the promised Messiah, all his miracles had as their aim and end — the benefit of suffering human beings. He worked no miracle for the sake of astonishing people or to satisfy idle gossip. Each one was performed in order to help someone in distress. All who were helped by his miracles of mercy had one thing in common — they were motivated by trust in his mercy and power. The leper in Matthew (8:2) expressed the sentiments of them all: "Lord, if only you will you can cleanse me (of my leprosy)." In many cases, as for instance that of Jarius above, it was a relative or friends who showed this faith and confidence. It was always present either in the fortunate person or in the relative or friend who asked for the miracle.

The Gospels give us only some of the many miracles our Lord worked. They give them to prove that he was what he claimed to be — the Son of God and the long-expected Savior; and also to prove his compassionate understanding and sympathy for suffering humanity.

We must not forget, however, that the meaning of his miracles and his mission was lost on thousands of his contemporaries in Palestine, small though the country was. While great throngs followed our Lord and listened to his message and were interested in his mission, still great throngs remained at home, stolidly immersed in their worldly tasks and thoughts. They heard rumors about the man from Nazareth who was said to be the Messiah and was supposed to be able to work miracles, but they were too practical, too sensible to listen to such rumors. Anyway, they had no interest in the Messiah, or in silly spiritual things, they were fully occupied with their financial and worldly interests.

Has the world changed much in nineteen centuries? How many millions of nominal Christians ignore Christ and his Gospel today, millions who are too practical, too down-to-earth to waste time on such a silly thing as their eternal salvation! How many millions are spiritually sick and dying but who have not the faith, humility and confidence of Jairus, to cast themselves at the feet of Jesus and ask him to cure them? How fortunate would not people be if they would repeat the leper's prayer: "Lord, if only you will you can make me clean"; if they could, like the suffering woman in today's Gospel, break through the throng of worldly pride, worldly interests and worldly associates and touch the hem of his garment; if they had the faith of Jairus; if only they could say to our Lord "come and lay your hands upon me so that I may be made well and live."?

Today, let us say a fervent prayer of thanksgiving to God for the gift of active faith which he has given us and beg of him to keep that faith ever alive in our breasts. Let us think, too, of our fellowmen, our brothers in Christ, who are so busy with their worldly occupations and pleasures that they cannot find time to listen to his message. They are spiritually anemic and almost spiritually dead, but cannot push their way toward Christ through the throngs of earthly, worldly barricades which they have built about themselves. Our sincere prayers can help them to overcome these obstacles; frequently and fervently let us ask God to send them his efficacious grace so that these brothers in Christ will also be with him in heaven.


O God, who through the grace of adoption chose us to be children of light, grant, we pray, that we may not be wrapped in the darkness of error but always be seen to stand in the bright light of truth.

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