Reach Out to Jesus

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

June 27, 2021 – 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Mark 5:21-43

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We live during a time of deep social change. Old beliefs and behaviors are being challenged. Outdated laws and customs are debated. And our awareness of others is especially under examination. Are we a society of fairness and justice? Do we believe that all humans are created and loved by God in equal measure? These are questions for church and society, and for each of us as well.

Although today’s questions and discussions are many, today’s gospel alerts us to two specific social groups that we might consider with new eyes. They are featured in Mark’s gospel, which often focuses on the healing ministry of Jesus.

More specifically, we are invited to attend to the situation of women and children, from both a societal and religious perspective. And personally.

First, we learn of the daughter of a synagogue official who is very sick. Perhaps close to death. By the time Jesus was able to get to her, he was told that she had already died. Jesus gently touched her, and she was healed. At least in this case, Jesus showed his concern and care for her and her family. And he did not make a big show of this. He loved all, especially children, so he did what he did. Children deserve special attention – they can be easily overlooked. They often lack strong voices to present their needs.

Next, there is the account of the woman afflicted with a constant flow of blood – for years. Women were thought of as “impure” during their periods. Think of what her life had been like. In a sense, she was desperate. She heard that Jesus was a healer. She hoped he could help but she didn’t want to unduly disturb him. She decided on a plan. Maybe if I can just touch his garment as he passed by, I might be helped. So, she did. The plan worked.

Except for one thing. If Jesus helped others, he wanted to know them personally. He was not “a miracle dispensing machine.” God’s power is rooted in love, not technique. When God acts, we do not witness magic, but the result of love.

Back to the two special individuals who are the focus of these gospel miracles of healing. I think we might think of them as representing two often overlooked groups in our world, women and children. Jesus is concerned with all, but especially those who are unnoticed, both in societal and religious settings. It’s time we take special notice of them, as did Jesus.

©David M. Thomas, PhD

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