Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - July 1, 2012
The readings for this Sunday are: Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24; 2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15; Mark 5:21-43 or 5:21-24, 35-43
In the sections prior to today’s Gospel story, we witnessed Jesus’ divine power at work on the forces of nature (Mark 4:37-41). Today’s Gospel reveals his power over disease and death.
In these powerful accounts, Jesus reminds us of the importance of faith. Nothing is possible without faith. On the way to Jairus’ house (Mark 5), Jesus encounters interruptions, delays, and even obstacles along the road. The people in the passage transfer their uncleanness to Jesus, and to each Jesus bestows the cleansing wholeness of God. Let us consider for a moment each situation.
The hemorrhaging woman
Jesus’ miraculous healing of this woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years is narrated in three of the four Gospels (Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34; Luke 8:43-48). The law regarded three forms of uncleanness as serious enough to exclude the infected person from society: leprosy, uncleanness caused by bodily discharges, and impurity resulting from contact with the dead (Numbers 5:2-4). The woman in Mark 5 had a disease that made her ritually unclean (Leviticus 15:25-27). It would have excluded her from most social contact and worship at the temple. She desperately wanted Jesus to heal her, but she knew that her bleeding would cause Jesus to become ritually unclean under Jewish law.
Anyone who had one of the diseases was made unclean. Anything or anyone that one touched became unclean. Those who were unclean also suffered from estranged relationships with others and with God. Anything unclean was unfit or unworthy to be in the presence of a God who was holy. Those deemed unclean had to go through a rite of purification or cleansing in order to be welcomed back into society and into the presence of God.
The woman’s bold invasion of Jesus’ space, and her touching of Jesus’ garment, thus making Jesus unclean, could have put him off. On the contrary, Jesus not only heals the woman, but also restores her relationships with others. When Jesus calls the woman “daughter,” he established a relationship with one with whom he should not have a relationship.
The very touching story of Jairus’ daughter is “sandwiched” around the story about the hemorrhaging woman. Jairus was an elected leader of the local synagogue, responsible for supervising the weekly worship, operating the school, and caring for the building. Some synagogue leaders had been pressured not to support Jesus, but Jairus had not caved into that pressure. Jairus bowed before Jesus and uttered his anguished request for help: “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.” Jairus’ gesture was a significant and daring act of respect and worship.
The story continues: Jesus, “took her by the hand, and said to her, ‘Talitha cum,’ which means, ‘Little girl, get up!’ And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about” (5:41- 42). By calling her “little girl,” he established the same kind of relationship with her as Jairus has with his daughter.
In each situation, Jesus’ holiness transforms the person’s uncleanness. The flow of blood is stopped. The woman is healed. The corpse comes back to life. The young girl gets out of bed. Jesus raises each person up to his level, making that individual worthy to be in the presence of God.
Jesus, the healer
In so many of the healing stories, Jesus manifests the power to give people health, healing and even to bring the dead back to life. Remember the young man of Nain in Luke 7 who had died. Jesus said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” Luke reports that the “dead man sat up and began to speak.”
Jesus responded to the cries of the leper who begged him, “If you choose, you can make me clean!” Moved with com- passion, Jesus gave a word of command which was proper to God and not to a mere human being: “I do choose. Be made clean!” Mark wrote: “Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean” (Mark 1:42). How can we forget the case of the paralytic who was let down through an opening made in the roof of the house, Jesus said, “I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home” (cf. Mark 2:1-12).
Jesus’ story continues in the Acts of the Apostles when we hear about people who “carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on cots and mats, in order that when Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he came by” (Acts 5:15). These “wonders and signs” were performed by the apostles not in their own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ, and were therefore a further proof of his divine power.
The story of Jairus’ daughter not only speaks about the death of a child and the raising of that young girl back to life, but it also speaks about death of the heart and spirit, a disease that affects so many young people today.
Those powerful words – Talitha cum (Little girl, arise) – are not only addressed to this little girl in Mark’s story, but also to many young people, perhaps to each one of us. How many young children live with fear and sadness because of divided family situations, tragedy and loss! How many young people are caught up in vicious cycles of death: drugs, abortion, pornography, violence, gangs and suicide?
Living in a big city such as Toronto, I have the opportunity of meeting many young people, and when I hear some of their stories of brokenness, sadness and despair, I realize how much work the churches must do to bring young people back to life.
Jesus continues today to resurrect those dead young people to life. He does so with his word, and also by sending them his disciples who, in his name, and with his very love, repeat to today’s young people his cry: “Talitha cum,” “young man, young woman, arise! Live again! Love again! You are loved!”
“Alive” in Darlinghurst
As I reflect on today’s Gospel and Jesus’ powerful words: “Talitha cum,” I recall vividly one of Benedict XVI’s special moments during World Youth Day 2008 in Australia.
The Holy Father went to the University of Notre Dame’s Sacred Heart chapel in Darlinghurst (Sydney) where he met young people with histories of drug addiction and other problems, who are following the “Alive” rehabilitation program. The Pope recalled Moses’ words in the Old Testament:
I set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live in the love of the Lord your God, (…) for in this your life consists.
It was clear what they had to do,” the Pope explained, “they had to turn away from other gods and worship the true God Who had revealed himself to Moses – and they had to obey his commandments. You might think that in today’s world, people are unlikely to start worshipping other gods. But sometimes people worship ‘other gods’ without realizing it. False ‘gods’ (…) are nearly always associated with the worship of three things: material possessions, possessive love, or power.
Authentic love is obviously something good,” the Pope continued.
When we love, we become most fully ourselves, most fully human. But (…) people often think they are being loving when actually they are being possessive or manipulative. People sometimes treat others as objects to satisfy their own needs. (…) How easy it is to be deceived by the many voices in our society that advocate a permissive approach to sexuality, without regard for modesty, self-respect or the moral values that bring quality to human relationships!
Dear friends, I see you as ambassadors of hope to others in similar situations. You can convince them of the need to choose the path of life and shun the path of death, because you speak from experience. All through the Gospels, it was those who had taken wrong turnings who were particularly loved by Jesus, because once they recognized their mistake, they were all the more open to his healing message.
Indeed, Jesus was often criticized by self-righteous mem- bers of society for spending so much time with such people. ‘Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ they asked. He responded: ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick … I did not come to call the virtuous but sinners’ (cf. Matthew 9:11-13).
It was those who were willing to rebuild their lives who were most ready to listen to Jesus and become his disciples. You can follow in their footsteps, you too can grow particularly close to Jesus because you have chosen to turn back towards him. You can be sure that, just like the Father in the story of the prodigal son, Jesus welcomes you with open arms. He offers you unconditional love – and it is in loving friend- ship with him that the fullness of life is to be found.
I am sure that Jesus was smiling upon Benedict XVI and that wonderful gathering in Sydney last July. Jesus’ words – Talitha cum – were heard once again Down Under as the Holy Father invited young people to rise up, to live and to love again.
Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB
CEO, Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation
This reflection first appeared on the Zenit International News Service in 2009 as well as on the Salt + Light Blog. The complete collection of reflections for Year B is now available in book form. You can order your copy of “Words Made Flesh: Volume 2, Year B” from the Salt + Light online store.
06/27/2012 (AsiaNews.it) – The delay of the monsoon rains threatens to destroy rice and other crops in the northern, northwestern and central northern areas of the country. The energy blackouts are starting: the water supplies of the hydroelectric reservoirs are almost exhausted. Agriculture Minister promises state aid.
There’s a drought warning in Sri Lanka: the delay of the monsoon rains from the northwest has seriously affected the agricultural sector, and threatens to destroy rice paddies and other crops. Even the reservoirs of the hydroelectric power stations are running out of their provisions, causing power blackouts. On 25 June, President Mahinda Rajapaksa participated in a meeting with representatives of the farmers of Mahaweli and Polonnaruwa, among the areas most at risk. According to Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, the Minister of Agriculture, about 60,700 hectares of arable land are in danger of being destroyed.
The North Central, Northern and North Western Provinces are the most affected areas. “Many reservoir tanks”, the minister explained, “have already dried up, and the crops are destroyed. The state will do its utmost to help the poor peasants.”
According to officials of the Department for irrigation, farmers in Polonnaruwa have left about 3,000 hectares of land uncultivated; in Mahaweli, 6,000 hectares of paddy fields and 20,250 hectares of other crops are close to destruction. The situation of farmers in Eastern Province, instead, is positive; according Abeywardena, “they have handled their water resources well, dedicating themselves also to alternative crops other than rice, which requires large amounts of water.”
Continue at source:
Drought warning in Sri Lanka: 60,000 hectares of cultivated land at risk
Priests for Life
are happy to announce that the Vatican has upheld Father Frank Pavone’s
appeal and has declared that Father Pavone is not now nor has ever been
suspended. Father Pavone remains a priest in good standing all over the
We were confident
all along that a just decision would be made by the Vatican’s
Congregation for the Clergy. While we fully agree that Bishop Zurek has
rightful authority over the priests of his diocese, we also see the
urgent need for Father Pavone to be allowed to conduct his priestly
ministry outside the diocese of Amarillo for the good of the pro-life
by Bishop Patrick J. Zurek
June 20, 2012
In its decree of May 18, 2012, the Congregation for the Clergy has sustained Father Frank A. Pavone’s appeal of his suspension from ministry outside the Diocese of Amarillo and his appointment from me on October 4, 2011 as Chaplain of the Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ in Channing, Texas. Father Pavone is to continue his ministry as chaplain until further notice. As a gesture of good will, I will grant permission to him in individual cases, based upon their merits, to participate in pro-life events with the provision that he and I must be in agreement beforehand as to his role and function.
All other matters are outside the purview of this statement.
Amarillo, Texas, June 20, 2012
+Most Rev. Patrick J. Zurek, STL, DD
Bishop of Amarillo
I express my personal and professional gratitude that Father Frank Pavone is not suspended from his priestly faculties. He is a faithful and loyal son of the Church and I am confident he will continue to respect, honor and obey his diocesan bishop. The work he does as National Director of Priests for Life serves the common good of all the dioceses and parishes and faithful in the United States. It makes sense that he inform his bishop of his activities inside and outside the diocese, which every priest should do. If every bishop kept vigilant on everyone (clergy, lay and religious) who speak in their diocese AS LONG AS the criteria is fair and universal. Specifically, the litmus test must be orthodoxy. If what they SAY and WRITE conforms with the Magisterium (namely, the Catechism, Ecumenical Councils and Papal Encyclicals), then they should be allowed to speak on any church property.
Dissidents who preach or teach personal opinions which contradict official doctrine and dogma of the Catholic Church should be barred from every Catholic church, school and seminary. When it is a matter of PRUDENTIAL JUDGMENT or private opinion on something not already defined, then DE GUSTIBUS NON DISPUTANDUM EST. Like an imprimatur which does not mean the local bishop agrees with all the opinions of the author, he does verify that what is in this particular book does not conflict with defined faith and morals. Bishops may not always share the same perspective or they may have a different prudential judgment but as long as the speaker does not say or write anything that contradicts official Magisterial teachings, they should be permitted to speak.
I am confident that anything Father Pavone says and writes does conform and therefore keeping open communications with his bishop is sensible and proper. As long as all speakers and public persons are treated equally, i.e., they are scrutinized with the same criteria (the measure you measure with …) then there is justice and fairness. If only certain people are singled out to be examined for their orthodoxy credentials, that would be unfair and improper. God bless Father Pavone and Bishop Zurek and all priests, deacons and bishops so we can be better sons of the Church. As ordained clergy, we should be working together and on the same side, that of TRUTH and GRACE. Preaching and teaching orthodox doctrine and celebrating valid, licit and reverent divine worship is what the People of God deserve and nothing less.
a series of articles to come on the book “
True Life in God
“, messages to Vassula Ryden mainly from Jesus, but also from His Mother, St. Michael and others.
I received a comment from “Father Terry” pointing me to two particular among several articles critical of the book. That one was largely outdated, and the other erroneous is not surprising, since with the internet there are praises and criticisms of everything you can imagine.
What is important is discernment, particularly in matters of faith. Here is what Jesus says in the book to Vassula on January 22, 1989 “pray for the Spirit of discernment and of truth to come upon you always”.
Either something is of God or it is not. If it is not of God, then it is of one of two things. It is either of the devil, or of one’s own imaginings.
Vassula Ryden, whose hand has written the messages found in ‘True Life in God”, was born in a Greek Orthodox home, though she knew next to nothing about the Orthodox faith. She was married, divorced, and remarried, and had little interest in matters of God. If you read the progression of the messages in “True Life in God” what is evident on one level, is that the Vassula grows into a deep faith in and love of Jesus Christ. What is also evident from her background is that what is written could not be written by her without some kind of serious intervention.
Simply put, how could a woman of her background imagine what is contained in the book? This is not J. K. Rowling kind of writing, where her imagination runs free and comes up with fantastic stories. This is a book about faith in Jesus Christ, where the reader is led back to the Bible, and where Jesus explains the meaning of matters of faith to Vassula.
So, if the book is not a product of Vassula Ryden’s imaginings, then maybe it is of the devil. On January 13, 1989 Jesus and Vassula have this conversation:
Jesus? One priest now has said that Your works You are giving me are spiritism, because of the writings. Please help me.
Vassula, I will help you; Glory be to God for delivering you from evil; let all those who doubt and accuse you of all sorts of calumnies, remember My words in Scriptures: a good tree produces good fruit; peace, My Vassula; rejoice when people abuse you and persecute you, for your reward will be great in Heaven;
beloved, those that assert that these Works are not from Me, the Lord, but are through spiritism or occultism, I ask them this question: can Satan divide himself against himself? if he is divided against himself, how can his kingdom then stand? – My grace is upon you, My child; but they have not understood.
You may remember from the Bible where when Jesus was told he was a demon, he said this same sort of thing. In 1989, Vassula was still very much of a blank canvas, like us if we are fortunate, and so had no real knowledge of what “spiritism” was, and so no way to respond to it. Jesus, being very patient with her gives her the answer.
In the book, Jesus invites Vassula and all of us to pray the prayers that are found to the left of this page under the heading “Daily Prayers Requested by Jesus”. They consist of the prayer to Saint Michael, in which we ask Saint Michael to be “our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.” I may not know the mind of the devil, but I am pretty sure that the devil would not be urging us to pray the Prayer to Saint Michael. The Memorare prayer to the Blessed Virgin is also not likely to be on the devil’s list of things he wants us to do, and the “Novena of confidence to the Sacred heart of Jesus” is definitely not on his to do list. Oh, and throughout the book Jesus and Mary urge Christians to pray the Rosary.
So, really, do you think the devil is writing this?
So, if the book is not a product of Vassula Ryden’s imaginings, and not of the devil, then that kind of leaves us with only one option. It must be of God.
Well, aside from things like I just pointed out, which are found on every page of the book, the urgings of God for us to get our heads out of the way and turn our hearts to him dominate.
Most important is the fruit.
When people read this book, and stick with it for a while it bears fruit. It takes about 100 pages or so for us to drop our guard and let it sink into the depths of our hearts. At least, it did for me, and friends of mine who have read it as well.
The result in me and in them has been a desire to pray more slowly and carefully, realising to whom we are praying. In those I know who have read it or heard the messages, or even watched videos on the True Life in God web site, growth in abandonment to God has occurred, sinful compulsions slowly wane, and hearts grow in love of God, love of neighbour and love of self as a Child of God.
“True Life in God” is not about Vassula Ryden. Though it is her story to an extent, it is my story and your story, and above that, it is the story of a God who loves us so much as to pursue us by any means we will allow him to.
Do not judge a book by its cover, but by the fruit that it brings about in you.
Is "True Life in God" of God or of the devil?