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The Power of Humble Faith
Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest
Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time
When Jesus had crossed again [in the boat] to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.
There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” But his disciples said to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”
While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. 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.
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, increase my faith and trust in your fidelity as you always seek my ultimate good–total healing that comes through my participation in your saving grace, won by your Cross and Resurrection.
- Jesus’s Salvific Intention: Jesus returned from the pagan to the Jewish territory of the Sea of Galilee. Upon arrival, he healed two “impure” people: a dead twelve-year-old girl and a woman hemorrhaging for twelve years. Twelve represents the entirety of the people of Israel in the Old Testament (twelve tribes). In the New Testament Jesus built his Church upon twelve foundation stones, the apostles, who were called to proclaim the good news to all the world. The Church became the sacrament of universal salvation. The Jews were anticipating the coming of the Messiah, and with him, the restoration of Israel. Truly Jesus came to restore, to make us new, and to offer us the deepest healing, salvation. I marvel at his plan and how he calls forth people to participate in unique ways in his plan.
- The Power of Humble Faith: Jairus did the unthinkable! He, an esteemed official, prostrated himself before Jesus. He was desperate for his daughter’s sake, but his gesture reflected his faith. He didn’t ask if Jesus could heal; he already believed. What he did not conceive is Jesus’s power to raise from the dead! What went through Jairus’s heart when his daughter breathed again and he saw new life in her open eyes? Perhaps Jairus got a taste of the Heavenly Father’s joy, who will resurrect the bodies of his beloved children on the last day. New life is ours if we keep our eyes fixed with faith and confidence on the Son who has already won it for us. At present, the Church, as the universal sacrament of salvation, nourishes us with a foretaste of heaven as we journey towards our Father’s house.
- Isolation to Communion: The hemorrhaging woman’s story calls us to marvel at God’s desire to make us part of his family. Her bleeding condition made her impure by Jewish law. Consequently, her daily bread was isolation. She made a risky move. An impure woman could touch a rabbi only if she was his relative. Otherwise she risked the serious repercussion of stoning. While desperation inspired courage to touch Jesus’s garment, faith unleashed his mercy and healing power. She heard no condemning words, only his tender greeting, “My daughter.” Faith won her the welcoming arms of a Father. She entered into God’s family. “Your faith has healed you.” The Greek word used, Sozo, means saved. Beyond physical healing, Jesus desires to give us eternal salvation, to bring us from the isolation of our illness, namely egoism, to wholeness and communion in God’s family. Faith is the key to unlock that door.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, help me to raise my eyes beyond my own expectations of you. Your will be done in my life, as long as it leads to the Father’s arms. Thank you for your Mystical Body, the Church, that like a mother nourishes me with redemptive grace won by your Cross, Death, and Resurrection. Thank you for your bread from heaven and for restoring my brokenness with the sacraments.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will resolve to participate in the sacraments with greater faith and frequency, if possible.
For Further Reflection: “Love Is Moving,” by Audrey Assad, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6SDZeGPGjc.
Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi who is dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala.