Sunday Homilies


Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Modern

Gospel – Mark 5: 21 – 43

There is the old saying; “there are no enemies in fox holes.” When we find ourselves in desperate and seemingly hopeless situations even the non-believer discovers God and cries out to Him for help. While we probably would not describe ourselves as a non-believer, we do have the tendency of trying to solve our own problems first. When all our efforts and plans fail, in desperation we cry out to God. This is especially true when it comes to someone being diagnosed with a serious illness. We include this petition in our usual daily prayers, search for the cure that the medical professionals tell us does not exist, when these seem to fail we storm heaven with prayers of pleading as we hang onto hope for a miracle. Miraculous healings do occur and I can testify to that from experience. There are times when the unexpected, inexplicable change for the better takes place. When these happen there is great rejoicing and prayers of thanksgiving. There are times when the healing doesn’t take place and we wonder where God is, and ask, “Why is this happening?” This Gospel from Mark gives us to accounts of healings.

Jairus the Synagogue official comes to Jesus who is surrounded by a crowd. He pleads to Jesus, “My daughter is at the point of death, please come and lay hands on her, that she may get well and live.” It was a plea from a desperate father who did not want to see his daughter die. It is the same plea made today by desperate fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and so many others, for God to come and intervene in some serious and tragic situation.

Jesus goes with Jairus to his home and on the way encounters the woman who has been suffering for twelve years. In a similar desperate act of faith she reaches out and touches the garment of Jesus, and she is healed. Jesus knows that power has gone out from him and asked who touched him, and when the women admitted that it was she, Jesus says, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” Jesus lauds people for putting their faith in him. When we put our faith in Jesus we are opening our hearts to his presence. Jesus does not force himself into our lives, he comes when he is invited. Prayer is our invitation to God to enter into our lives.

Jesus and Jairus continue their journey, but before they arrive word reaches Jairus that his daughter is dead. Jairus begins to send Jesus on his way, but Jesus insists on continuing and proclaims, “The child is not dead but asleep.” They reach the house that is now filled with mourners, and Jesus goes in and restores the girl to life. Jairus invited Jesus into his home, and Jesus entered and healed his daughter. Another invitation and another reminder to us of the importance of inviting Jesus into our hearts.

Healing is a complex issue because we don’t know the mind of God. Why some people are healed and others are not is a mystery that calls on a deep faith to accept. Sometimes we are attracted to various forms or methods of healing, but the power of Jesus cannot be confined, channeled or controlled by these. His healing is a gift to us that seems to come when we open our hearts and invite him into these situations. We are called to have the faith to invite Jesus into our lives, and allow his will to be done. 

Father Killian Loch, O.S.B.

Illustration: The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter by George Percy Jacomb-Hood (1857–1929)