13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

First reading: Ws. 1:13–15,2:23–24

God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. For he fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of the netherworld on earth, for justice is undying. For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it.

Second reading: 2 Cor. 8:7,9,13–15

Brothers and sisters: As you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you, may you excel in this gracious act also.

For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. Not that others should have relief while you are burdened, but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their needs, so that their abundance may also supply your needs, that there may be equality. As it is written: Whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less.

Gospel: Mk. 5:21–24,35–43

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 and pressed upon him.

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.

In other words

by Fr. Dante Salces-Barril, SVD (Rome, Italy)

God-according to our First Reading—“did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living” (Ws. 1,13). But because of sin—generated by “envy of the devil”—death enters the world. However, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church beautifully puts it, “Death is transformed by Christ… The obedience of Jesus has transformed the curse of death into a blessing” (CCC 1009).

The story of Jairus, the synagogue official in the Gospel, hints at the aforementioned transformation of death from curse to blessing. But before elaborating on that, we would like first to point to the extreme breadth of emotions that Jairus experiences in our Gospel today. He went from despair (a synagogue official falling at the feet of a provincial Rabbi) to a glimmer of hope (when Jesus went with him), then to a numbing pain (at the news of the death of her daughter), and finally to an unspeakable joy (when his daughter was restored to him and his wife). If we notice, Jairus spoke only at the beginning; in the rest of the story, he was silent. But with what he went through one cannot blame him; as my classmate likes to say, “I don’t know if a single heart is capable of feeling all that.”

But apparently, Jairus’ fatherly heart handled everything just fine. The death of his daughter becomes for him and his family an experience of blessing. While on the surface the restoration of her daughter to life is a miracle, the real miracle is something more. His daughter will eventually die for sure (she was resuscitated, not resurrected) but his story lives forever. And unlike others who could not keep their mouth shut after Jesus healed and ordered them to keep silent, Jairus—whose heart must be bursting with joy—obeyed the master’s “injunction of secrecy.” Jairus “kept all in his heart.” Like the blessed Virgin Mother, he becomes a disciple.

This is the story’s real miracle.

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