Celebrating Mass

13th sunday in ordinary time

27th june 2021

Year B – Psalter week 1

Several details are common to the healing of the woman with the haemorrhage and to the raising of Jairus’ daughter as presented in today’s gospel.  Obviously, both involve ministry to a female.  Both highlight the power of Jesus over physical sickness, his positive response to faith, and there is also the common time span of twelve years, with twelve years being the age of the young girl and the time that the older woman had suffered from the haemorrhage.

I would like to focus today upon the importance of faith.  The woman with the haemorrhage and the father of the girl both clearly have faith in Jesus.  Jairus falls at the feet of Jesus and pleads with him to ‘come and lay hands on [his daughter] to make her better and save her life.’  The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible explains how, ‘Often in the Gospels Jesus responds to the persistent please of parents whose children are suffering or in danger.  His mercy touches these distressed parents whenever they turn to him in faith.   Jesus also displays a deep affection for children.’[1]  When the people from Jairus’ house arrive to tell him that his daughter has died, Jesus encourages him by saying, ‘do not be afraid; only have faith’.  Clearly Jairus does keep faith and is only one of a handful of people who are privileged to witness the raising of his daughter by Jesus.

In some ways, the healing of the woman with the haemorrhage is even more remarkable.  Such is her faith in Jesus that she determines to simply touch his outer garment: ‘”If I can touch even his clothes,” she had told herself, “I shall be well again.”’  We should remember that such a flow of blood, according to the Jewish law, made a woman ritually unclean and anything that she touched.[2]  It would have been to the astonishment of the crowd that Jesus removed such uncleanness precisely through physical contact.  Even more astonishing, is the fact that the woman did not even ask Jesus to heal her, but that when she touched his clothes he was ‘immediately aware that power had gone out of him’.  One could almost say that Jesus was helpless in this encounter with the woman’s faith.  The only outcome, it seemed, could be the woman’s healing.

Here, I believe, we have a mystery of the kingdom of heaven: faith can purchase anything from the Lord.  I have heard it said that faith is the currency of heaven.  As we need local currency to purchase items here on earth, so we need faith to purchase the things of heaven.  Indeed, Jesus said to the woman, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

In the gospel of Matthew, we find Jesus saying to the disciples privately, ‘if your faith were the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there”, and it would move; nothing would be impossible for you.’[3]  This kind of supernatural faith is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned by St. Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians,[4] and it is something that we should all pray for.  In fact, in the gospel of Luke, the disciples specifically ask Jesus to increase their faith.[5]  As we pray for an increase in hope and love, so it is our responsibility to pray for an increase in faith to further unlock the miraculous power of Jesus at work within our community.  An important starting place is to confess our unbelief.  Maybe the words to Jesus of the father of the epileptic boy in Mark’s gospel could help us: “I do have faith.  Help the little faith I have!”[6]

God bless,

Fr Andy

[1] Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament – Second Catholic Edition RSV, p. 74.  See also Mark 7:25-30; 9:17-27; Matthew 17:14-18; John 4:46-54; and Mark 10:13-16; Matthew 18:5-6.

[2] Cf. Leviticus 15:25-30.

[3] Matthew 17:20.

[4] See 1 Corinthians 12:9.

[5] See Luke 17:5.

[6] Mark 9:24.

Download Fr Andy’s reflection here

First Reading

wisdom 1:13-15; 23-24

It was the devil’s envy that brought death into the world.

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Responsoral Psalm

Psalm 29:2. 4-6. 11-13

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.

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Second Reading

2 corinthians 8:7. 9. 13-15

In giving relief to others, balance what happens to be your surplus now against their present need.

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mark 5:21-43

Little girl, I tell you to get up.

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Sunday Message and Look

Download this weeks Sunday Message and Look (for our younger parishioners) by clicking on the images, for all the readings for this week, as well as the prayers during mass and the usual weekly thoughts and reflections.

Alleluia, alleluia!

Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life: you have the message of eternal life.

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