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The Miracles ‘On the Other Side’

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 5:41-42).

A reflection from Father Tudgay for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Geography, in Saint Mark’s Gospel, is an important detail that is worth our attention. The series of passages that we hear these weeks from Saint Mark’s Gospel consistently offer a clue about what is to happen… he’s constantly going to “the other side”. This geographical point of reference provides a clue about the context for his mission. Saint Mark’s Gospel also makes the point of emphasizing the imminent reality of the Kingdom of God… right here, right now, in the person of Jesus Christ. This kingdom, much to the confusion of some, isn’t limited by a geographic reality, but is meant to be shared by all. 

“The other side” is the place of disorder, chaos, and violence and is the forbidden territory where Jesus’ disciples reluctantly followed him and saw the full display of his power at work. To further confirm the stereotype about the “uncleanness” of the pagan territory, their first journey toward “the other side” is the storm on the sea that we encountered last weekend. Great start, right?  

Our Gospel Passage shows the notoriety of Jesus’ journey through these pagan territories gaining steam and the miracles that he performs in response to people’s profession of faith in him. The inclusion of the healing of the woman with the hemorrhage in the midst of the miracle of the raising of Jairus’ daughter shows the bewildering power of the presence of Christ and the transformation that it brings.  

“The other side” will always be a reality or place that we either fear or condemn. Yet, the adventure of discipleship affirms that “the other side” is precisely where Jesus is inviting us to go. The witness of the lives of the saints demonstrate the necessity of setting out to go beyond what is familiar and known and enter into the uncharted waters where Jesus Christ is waiting to go to work through us. While God’s grace is always active in our lives and in our world, the least likely place where we think it will surface is precisely where the deepest transformation occurs.

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