February 3, 2015

The Gospel Today

Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Mark 5:21 – 43

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.

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.

Reflection (Sem Eric Terrel):

C. Simmons once said, “Ridicule is the first and last argument of the fools.” Speaking of ridicule, every now and then, we might find ourselves either the one being ridiculed or the one who is making other people ridiculous. We are being ridiculed because there is something about us or what we did that others have taken note of. We make fun of other people usually because there is something about them or about what they did that is worthy of conversation. However, it is good to ask: how should we handle such situations with a right and Christian disposition?

Jesus Christ, who is truly powerful and glorious as a God, allowed Himself to experience the poverty of the human condition through the process of Incarnation. As a human being in the fullest sense, He experienced also the pain of being ridiculed by other people whose grief He intended to console. This happened in the Gospel narrative that we have today. Jesus was asked by an official named Jairus to come immediately to the latter’s home to heal the official’s daughter who was very critically ill and nearing death. It was so unfortunate that the daughter died even before the arrival of Christ. As a result, many people started weeping and wailing. This was the sight that Jesus encountered upon arriving at Jairus’ house. He tried consoling the people as He said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” However, the people ridiculed Him as they find it hard to believe His words especially that the child has already expired. Most probably, they have not seen someone who was already dead and was brought to life once again. Their lack of faith in Jesus and His words might be attributed to the possibility that they have not yet heard about Christ and the wonders that He has done for the benefit of the many sick, crippled, dumb, possessed and many other people afflicted with various illnesses. Another possibility might be that they have heard about Jesus but they still have doubts about Him and the great things that He can definitely do. This is much worse. Although they have mocked the Lord’s ability to bring back the dead girl back to life, it is such a blessed and wonderful thing that Jesus Christ continued to love and serve the grieving and heartbroken people despite whatever doubts and contempt that He received from the people. It is noteworthy that the Lord responded to their actions by sending them out of the room except the parents of the child. Perhaps He did this as His way of telling them that they are not yet ready to witness the wonderful act that He is about to perform. Nevertheless, may the sight of a previously dead girl who stood up, walked around and would eventually eat, in response to Christ’s instruction, be the undeniable and concrete sign that there is indeed nothing impossible with Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. May their doubting hearts be disturbed and their mockeries of our Lord be silenced as a result of this great miracle. May they grow faith in Jesus Christ because of this encounter.

We, human beings, are not like Jesus Christ in such a way that we can bring back a dead person back to life. However, we are definitely like the Lord in the manner that we can continue to love, to do what is right, to remain understanding, to choose to be forgiving and to patiently endure for the sake of goodness even in the face of terrible insults, derision and disrespect from other people who do not believe in us, in what we do and whatever values that we stand for. Reacting negatively to the insults of other people might be a sign that there might be impurities in the motivations underlying our actions. However, if we believe deep in our hearts and minds that what we do is for the sake of love, goodness and truth in the name of God, then we ought to persevere regardless of how others might respond. I would say that this is one of the reasons why living an authentic Christian life is never an easy thing to do because to live a true Christian life entails following the way of Christ which is actually an uphill climb. What awaits us on the top of the hill is a cross surrounded by deriding people. But all ridicules would die down on the very same hill because there is resurrection with Christ at the very end of everything.

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