For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/070118.cfm
This weekend we continue reading from the Gospel of Mark. Our Gospel contains two stories, The first is the story of the resuscitation of a little girl, the daughter of a synagogue official. The second is the story of the cure of a woman with hemorrhages. The focus, though, is really on the first story. Now in looking at this story, it is important to make a distinction between resuscitation, which is a return to this life, and Resurrection, which is a birth to a new and eternal life with God. In this Gospel, Jairus, a synagogue official, approached Jesus, fell at his feet and pleaded 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.” Now, as background, it is important to note that it would have been unseemly, at best, for an official of the synagogue to approach Jesus and ask him for a favor. Most of the religious leaders of that time vigorously opposed to Jesus. And yet, out of love and concern for his daughter, the official did the unthinkable and came to Jesus pleading for his assistance.
Jesus went with the official but before they could get to the official’s house, people arrived and said: “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” Jesus, however, ignored them and proceeded to the house. Upon his arrival he was ridiculed when he told the people that “the child is not dead, but asleep.” Disregarding these people, he entered the room where the little girl was and commanded her to arise. The girl arose, and walked about, prompting astonishment from those who were present. The message of this Gospel is clear: Jesus is Lord of both life and death.
Our first reading for this weekend, from the book of Wisdom, shares the theme of the Gospel. We see this in the opening sentence: “God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.” Later in the reading we find these words: “For God formed man to be imperishable, the image of his own nature he made him.” These words remind us that we are made for life ----- life with our God forever.
In our second reading this weekend, from the Second Letter to the Corinthians, Paul talks about “this gracious act” that the Corinthians are about to engage in. What is this gracious act? They are going to take up a collection to help the struggling church in Jerusalem. In encouraging their generosity, Paul reminded them and us that “your abundance at the present time should supply their needs.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Like Jairus, there are times when I approach God because I have no where else. I suspect it is my pride and independent nature that keeps me from going to God sooner. What keeps you from approaching God?
- Why are so many people afraid of death?
- What “gracious act” are you called to do this week?