The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 July 2018
Wisdom 1, 13-15; 2, 23-24 + Psalm 30 + 2 Corinthians 8, 7, 9, 13-15 + Mark 5, 21-43
Two miracles stories and two women lead us to reflect upon the ministry of Jesus Christ, his mission, and his method. On the surface it looks like one of them is healed and the other brought back to life. That’s what it looks like, but what you see is not always what you get. Consistent with Mark’s style, there is commotion here. He seems to like that. There is always a rush and always a crowd. In the midst of that chaos there always stands one who is calm and peaceful. To get beyond the surface of these two incidents, it is helpful to understand that there is problem with English as this Gospel is translated. Two words in English come from one word in Greek and Latin: to save and to heal are the words that come out of the Latin word “Salus.” If you think of it this way, you can begin to get the idea: a salve like an ointment can bring healing, but when you see it in print and add to the spelling you get “salvation.” Once you get that point, you can go deeper into what is happening here. These are stories of salvation, not simply miracles of healing.
The consequence of sin that Jesus is always confronting is alienation or separation, and he comes face to face with that consequence in these verses. His presence and what he does restores relationships. The older woman is no longer ostracized from her husband and her community. Because of her bleeding, she would have been an outcast from everyone even her husband for fear of sharing her fate. The loneliness would have been worse than the bleeding. The little girl is restored to her parents, and even more so, by calling her “daughter”, Jesus is bringing her into the larger family of God’s loved ones.
The mission of Jesus is a mission of reconciliation, of healing what is broken apart, and the healing becomes even greater as it becomes salvation. These women are saved, and the wonder of it comes from the action: touch. That older woman touched him, and at that moment, be becomes unclean. He traded places with her. He brought her into his relationship with God, and now he will be the one who is cast out and the one who bleeds. Then, he touches that twelve-year-old who is dead. He trades places with her as well. Now he is the one who will die so that she can live.
You see, the mystery of salvation is being revealed here. We will be saved when we have been touched by Jesus Christ: touched by his love, touched by his grace, and touched by his word. What it takes is faith, prayer, and hope. We see this in that official, Jarius and in the woman. They both have hope, one has faith, and the other asks in prayer. The great hope for us comes through in a subtle way we might miss. God’s saving grace is available to everyone from important officials who have names to little old people who go nameless into eternity, but whose names are known by God alone. This is our hope today for we remain a people broken and in need of that divine touch. It will come to us in a few moments when we are touched by and reach out to touch the Body of Christ. In that action what is broken is healed, what is lost is found, and in Communion we are restored both to each other as a family and to God who longs to bring us home.