Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
Readings: Wis 1:13-15; 2:23-24; 2 Cor 8:7, 9, 13-15; Mk 5:21-43
“Do not be afraid; only have faith.” That is the good news proclaimed in the readings of this Sunday. The readings focus our attention on the power of Jesus in response to our fears: fear of death, fear of sickness and fear of poverty. Such fears can only be overcome by our faith in Christ, who was sought out by individuals and crowds because of that power; power to feed the hungry, power to restore sight and hearing, power to cure the crippled, to set the demon-possessed free, power over wind and sea, power to forgive sin, and power to raise the dead. Jesus has power to set us free from the two realities which we most fear - suffering and death. The Gospel shows how crowds sought out Jesus and pressed closely around him, each eager to get close enough to secure some blessing from Him. A synagogue official is desperate for his daughter’s welfare, and a woman suffering haemorrhage succeeds in coming close enough to touch his cloak. These two represent each one of us while the crowds represent the whole of poor, struggling, helpless humanity. The first reading from the Book of Wisdom responds to our questions regarding death, suffering and misfortune: “Why do we get sick?” “Why does Death exist?” “Did God make sickness or death?” The Book of Wisdom says that God did not create death, nor is God happy about our sickness or death. God created us healthy and wholesome, without any destructive forces. Why then does illness and death exist? Some people respond to that question in terms of fatalism because we are the victims of forces beyond our control.
The Book of Wisdom however tells us that we do have control over our fate: if we follow God, He will heal us; He will raise us up to new life. If we turn away from Him, we turn to the destructive forces of death. Because of the Original Sin, we live in fear and insecurity, afraid of suffering, afraid of our own circumstances, afraid of sickness and death. As St. Paul infers in the Second Reading, we are even afraid of giving alms to those in need, afraid that if we give more in charity to Outreach or Church funding, we may not have enough for the future. The two dramatic miracles in the Gospel are driven not only by fear, but also by selfish need. But it becomes clear that God will not allow fear, sickness or death to have the last word. The words of Jesus to Jairus are most reassuring: "Do not be afraid; only have faith". That is the good news. Through faith, fear in the woman with haemorrhage for twelve years, is transformed into courage. Her sickness is transformed into spiritual and physical health. The death of the little girl raised by Jesus to life, becomes our hope of eternal life in Christ, who is risen and alive. Coping with misfortune is a major preoccupation for many families that face terminal illness of a loved one; families that face death and even poverty due to lack of employment today. The readings of this Sunday however lead us to discover Christ, the source and solution to our search for security and wholeness. In his resurrection, Christ enables us to overcome suffering, poverty and death. So what message do we take home this Sunday? 1) God in Christ, will not allow fear, sickness or death to have the last word; 2) Jesus is the answer and solution to our searching and yearning for wholeness, security and assurance; 3) Therefore “Do not be afraid; only have faith.” Do not be afraid of any threat no matter what it might be. Trust and hope in Christ, who is the Lord of all life, and who controls your destiny in every moment of your life. Think about it.
©2012 John S. Mbinda