Liturgy of the Sunday

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Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

First Reading

Wisdom 1,13-15; 2,23-24

For God did not make Death, he takes no pleasure in destroying the living. To exist -- for this he created all things; the creatures of the world have health in them, in them is no fatal poison, and Hades has no power over the world: for uprightness is immortal. For God created human beings to be immortal, he made them as an image of his own nature; Death came into the world only through the Devil's envy, as those who belong to him find to their cost.


Psalm 29


In your goodness Lord, you have made me live.

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me
and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.

O Lord, I cried to you for help
and you, my God, have healed me.

O Lord, you have raised my soul from the dead,
restored me to life from those who sink into the grave.

Sing Psalms to the Lord, you who love him,
give thanks to his holy name.

His anger lasts a moment;
his favour all through life.

At night there are tears,
but joy comes with dawn.

I said to myself in my good fortune :
'Nothing will ever disturb me.'

Your favour had set me
on a mountain fastness,

then you hid your face
and I was put to confusion.

To you, Lord I cried,
to my God I made appeal :

'What profit would my death be,
my going to the grave?

Can dust give you praise
or proclaim your truth?'

The Lord listened and had pity.
The Lord came to my help.

For me you have changed my mourning into dancing,
you removed my sackcloth and girded me with joy.

So my soul sings Psalms to you unceasingly.
O Lord my God, I will thank you for ever.

Second Reading

2 Corinthians 8,7.9.13-15

More, as you are rich in everything-faith, eloquence, understanding, concern for everything, and love for us too -- then make sure that you excel in this work of generosity too. You are well aware of the generosity which our Lord Jesus Christ had, that, although he was rich, he became poor for your sake, so that you should become rich through his poverty. It is not that you ought to relieve other people's needs and leave yourselves in hardship; but there should be a fair balance- your surplus at present may fill their deficit, and another time their surplus may fill your deficit. So there may be a fair balance; as scripture says: No one who had collected more had too much, no one who collected less had too little.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 5,21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered round him and he stayed by the lake. Then the president of the synagogue came up, named Jairus, and seeing him, fell at his feet and begged him earnestly, saying, 'My little daughter is desperately sick. Do come and lay your hands on her that she may be saved and may live.' Jesus went with him and a large crowd followed him; they were pressing all round him. Now there was a woman who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years; after long and painful treatment under various doctors, she had spent all she had without being any the better for it; in fact, she was getting worse. She had heard about Jesus, and she came up through the crowd and touched his cloak from behind, thinking, 'If I can just touch his clothes, I shall be saved.' And at once the source of the bleeding dried up, and she felt in herself that she was cured of her complaint. And at once aware of the power that had gone out from him, Jesus turned round in the crowd and said, 'Who touched my clothes?' His disciples said to him, 'You see how the crowd is pressing round you; how can you ask, "Who touched me?" ' But he continued to look all round to see who had done it. Then the woman came forward, frightened and trembling because she knew what had happened to her, and she fell at his feet and told him the whole truth. 'My daughter,' he said, 'your faith has restored you to health; go in peace and be free of your complaint.' While he was still speaking some people arrived from the house of the president of the synagogue to say, 'Your daughter is dead; why put the Master to any further trouble?' But Jesus overheard what they said and he said to the president of the synagogue, 'Do not be afraid; only have faith.' And he allowed no one to go with him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. So they came to the house of the president of the synagogue, and Jesus noticed all the commotion, with people weeping and wailing unrestrainedly. He went in and said to them, 'Why all this commotion and crying? The child is not dead, but asleep.' But they ridiculed him. So he turned them all out and, taking with him the child's father and mother and his own companions, he went into the place where the child lay. And taking the child by the hand he said to her, 'Talitha kum!' which means, 'Little girl, I tell you to get up.' The little girl got up at once and began to walk about, for she was twelve years old. At once they were overcome with astonishment, and he gave them strict orders not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia


The scene that Mark presents to us is rather common in Jesus' public life: a crowd of needy people gather around him seeking healing and comfort. Even one of the leading men of the synagogue of Capernaum makes his way through the crowd, approaches Jesus, and implores him, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live." Finding himself totally desperate and in front of the powerlessness of men and women, the Lord is Jairus' only hope. In this we are very close to the leader of the synagogue. In his desperation this man - probably one of the most powerful in Capernaum - strips himself of the pride of being a leader, the arrogance of power, and the security of social dignity. He kneels down and is not ashamed of asking for help. His words are not a long speech but a prayer that is both simple and dramatic. Jesus does not waste any time and "goes with him" immediately.
The singular episode of the healing of the woman with a haemorrhage occurs along the way. A woman is desperate because she has been affected by a haemorrhage for twelve years and her doctors have been unable to help her. She thinks the only one who can help her is Jesus. Perhaps she is timid; she does not want to draw attention to herself and certainly does not want to bother anyone. She has so much faith in the young, good prophet that she believes she can be healed just by touching the hem of his cloak. She makes her way through the crowd and manages to touch the hem of Jesus' cloak. The woman thought she could do everything in secret. And in effect no one noticed her. But it is not so for Jesus, who, "immediately aware that power had gone forth from him," turns to the disciples and asks them who had touched him. Jesus looks around to see who touched him. Contact with Jesus is never anonymous. It is necessary to look, to listen, and to talk. The woman responds to Jesus' gaze and throws herself at his feet. And Jesus responds, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease." At that moment the flow of blood is stopped; she is healed. "Your faith has made you well!" Jesus says, "Your faith has made you well!" The faith of the woman - that is her trusting him - pushes Jesus to perform the miracle.
This is also what happens when the daughter of the leader of the synagogue is healed. As news of the girl's death spreads, everyone loses all hope that she might be healed and says not to disturb the teacher from Nazareth anymore. Perhaps Jairus was about to give into resignation. But Jesus urges him not to lose hope. One could say that Jesus answers Jairus' prayers beyond his expectations; Jairus wanted his daughter to be healed from her illness, but Jesus raises her from the dead. This is always what happens when a prayer is made with faith. Jesus says to the desperate man, "Do not fear, only believe." Having arrived at Jairus' house and surrounded by the weeping and shouting of the crowd, Jesus tells Jairus to calm himself because "the child is not dead but sleeping." In biblical language, death is understood as falling asleep in anticipation of being awakened. The dead therefore lie as if asleep and wait for the voice of the Lord himself to awake them. And so, Jesus stands in front of the girl. And he, the Word of the Father, is the one who calls her, "Little girl, get up!" He takes her by the hand and helps her stand. "Immediately," the evangelist notes, "the girl got up and began to walk about." She has come back to life. God's mercy is stronger than death. And it is on this mercy that we build our lives, like the wise man who builds his house on the rock.