13 Sunday-B- Reflections and Prayers

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel reading: Mark 5:21-43 

Today’s gospel comprises two distinct stories with no particular connection between them so you should decide to meditate on one or the other.
- there is the raising of Jairus’s daughter to life, which by a peculiar arrangement is told in two separate sections (verses 21-24,+ 35-43);
- and there is he healing of he woman with the haemorrhage (verses 25 to 43).
Remember that the miraculous cures by Jesus, while they record historical facts, are also lessons in how God works and invites us to enter with gratitude into his work of grace in our own lives and in the world today.

Prayer Reflections
Lord, we thank you for Alcoholics Anonymous;
this great organization reminds us that to experience resurrection
from the dead, all of us, even if we are important officials,
we have to come to the point where we are no longer in control
and fall at the feet of someone greater than ourselves, pleading for help
and allowing ourselves to be carried along by a community.

Lord, we thank you for the great moments of grace in our lives:
- we had struggled for years to give up a relationship that was harming us;
- we went through months of depression;
- we wanted very much to forgive but hurt was still eating us up.
We tried all kinds of remedies, got advice from many people,
without getting any better; in fact we were getting worse.
But there came a time when somehow or other
we knew deep down that all we needed was a little push,
a wise word, someone praying for us, a liturgy -
and sure enough, it happened.
It was all so simple that people around us could not understand,
but we were able to come forward, frightened and trembling
because we knew what had happened,
and we humbly told the whole truth. Thank you, Lord.

Lord, it sometimes happens that we help people without realizing it.
Some word we say, some gesture we make, and they are deeply touched.
At such times we tend to be condescending toward the people we helped.
We pray that we may be more like Jesus,
so that when we become aware of what has happened
we speak gently to them, encourage them to tell their story,
assure them that it was their faith that restored them to health,
and help them to go in peace, fully free of their complaint.

Lord, we pray for leaders, in our country and in the world,
leaders of church and civil communities,
especially those whose communities are disillusioned or in despair.
As they go along, they will hear some people telling them
that things are too far gone
and there is no point putting themselves to further trouble;
they will see people weeping and wailing unrestrainedly,
and if they say that the community is not dead but merely sleeping,
many will laugh at them.
But they must ignore all these voices
and surround themselves with people of faith and love,
so that they can take their communities by the hand
and tell them to get up and walk.

Lord, we thank you for kind, practical people like Jesus,
people who, when others are weeping and wailing unrestrainedly,
can see that the one being mourned is not dead but asleep,
and who, when others are all excited that a great miracle has been worked,
will tell them not to talk about it,
but to give the person healed something to eat.
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Thomas O'Loughlin
Liturgical Resources for the Year of Matthew
www.columba.ie

Introduction to the Celebration

Every Sunday is a little 'Easter Sunday': because Jesus rose on Sunday, triumphant over death, we gather on Sundays. We gather to rejoice and celebrate his meal: he died, yet he lives, he has departed from us, yet also he is here among us.

To celebrate that Jesus rose from the dead is to celebrate that in him is our victory over suffering, pain, and death itself.
easter crossIn proclaiming that the Father raised Jesus from the dead, we are stating our conviction that all those parts of life that strike us as absurd and destructive are not part of the Father's will for us: death is not of God's doing, and the Father has sent among us a healer who restores us to the fullness of life.
Jesus is risen, Jesus is amongst us, let us rejoice.
Note: The alternative form of the Opening Prayer ('Father in heaven ... ' ) is more appropriate today.

Gospel: Mk 5:21-43

This story, found in its most complete form in Mark, is a unity and a masterpiece of narrative: the tension mounts in both the story of Jairus's daughter and in the woman with the flow of blood, so that is it only in the second 'half' of each story we see the Christ show his mercy. Yet at the end of the story, Mark's messianic secret comes back yet again: the Lord has come among us with healing and new life, but we shall only understand the Lord's life and ministry if we hold off speaking about him until we know his end on the cross.

Homily Notes

1. The simple didactic homily has been the bed-rock of preaching down the centuries. In the last few decades it has fallen into an unmerited obscurity partly because the meditation/ reflection sermon has gained a new prominence, partly because the 'challenge of discipleship' style has been seen as a way of showing up the radical nature of the gospel, and partly as we have moved to more exegetical style homilies. Today, we have a very structured unit of Mark's preaching and it was formulated by him with close attention to how fear acts on us as human beings. Because it grasps attention so well, it can be followed with a little bit of didache such as this:

2. This story makes visible for us three of our basic beliefs as disciples of Jesus.


First, that the Son of God, the Lord is one with us, he knows 'from the inside our fears' and anxieties, our needs, our nature. God, for us Christians, is not thought of as some far-off energy or power, he has come close to us in a human individual: Jesus.

We can paraphrase the creed like this:
• For us human beings and our health and well-being
• he has come down from heaven,
• and by the power of the holy Spirit has become a man
• who was named Jesus.

Second, we look to Jesus as the source of healing, of forgiveness, of reconciliation, and of hope.

Jairus and that woman – both making requests of Jesus because of their desperate situation – are typical of all of us who call upon him in our need.
We believe that Jesus is with us and one with us, we call on him for mercy and healing and forgiveness.
We acknowledge Jesus as
• the one who brings us healing: we call him 'the divine physician'
• the one who brings us forgiveness: we call him 'our redeemer'
• the one who brings us peace: we call him 'the prince of peace.'
That is why we who are his disciples get involved with:
• helping and caring for the sick
• promoting understanding and reconciliation
• working as peace makers.

Third, Jesus is the one who has risen from the dead and shares his resurrection with us.

Jesus has conquered sin and death:
• that is why we are the people of the resurrection
• that is why we gather on Sunday to celebrate
• that is why we are the people of the good news.

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Sean Goan
Let the reader understand
www.columba.ie

Gospel: Mark 5:21-43

There are two miracle stories in this quite long extract from Mark and they demonstrate an important theme and characteristic of this gospel. The first thing we notice is that the story of the raising of the daughter of Jairus begins the sequence, but then is cut off as we consider the woman with the haemorrhage. It is sometimes referred to as a sandwich technique and it is a characteristic of Mark, used to hold our interest as he develops an idea by means of two different stories. It quickly becomes apparent that the overarching theme is the need for faith. In the story of the woman, her willingness to trust in Jesus is total but by contrast the people in the house of Jairus laugh at him when he suggests the child is only asleep. Jesus tells the woman who touched him that her faith made her well, and to the people announcing the news of the death of the little girl he says: 'Do not be afraid, only have faith.' We have only already learned through the preaching of Jesus and his parables that the kingdom is present in his ministry and that it is both a gift and a challenge. Living by faith is the challenge but it is also the way to healing and new life for those who embrace the message with trust and confidence.

Reflection

At first glance, there may not seem to be much connection between these readings but an incident from the life of Gerard Manley Hopkins might shed some light on the strong link that is there. Someone once wrote to the poet asking how he could come to know God. Hopkins wrote back with the simple answer: 'Give alms.' The God who wills us to live eternally cannot be known in theory or theology – he can only be truly known through love. That is our calling as Christians. If we understand that we have been made rich through the poverty of Jesus then we cannot but reach out to others.
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