Please support
the mission of
the Dominican Friars.

1st Impressions CD's
Stories Seldom Heard
Faith Book
General Intercessions
Daily Reflections
Volume II
Come and See!
Homilías Dominicales
Palabras para Domingo
Catholic Women Preach
Homilias Breves
Daily Homilette
Daily Preaching
Face to Face
Book Reviews
Justice Preaching
Dominican Preaching
Preaching Essay
The Author







Wisdom 1: 13-15; 2: 23-24; 2 Corinthians
8: 7, 9, 13-15; Mark 5: 21-43

by Jude Siciliano, OP


Dear Preachers:


“First Impressions” is mailed weekly to over 4,000 subscribers. It is also featured on our webpage “Preacher Exchange,” which has English and Spanish reflections on the Sunday readings, along with other essays related to preaching. This past year the webpage had 12 million hits from preachers and laity around the world.

We can use your help to keep this service free, especially for those who do not have access, or can’t afford, such resources.

Send tax deductible checks (made out to “Dominican Friars”) to:

Preaching Resources
Dominican Friars
3150 Vince Hagan Dr.
Irving, Texas 75062-4736

Or: For an online donation go to:

Thank you.

In desperate situations, when a loved one is dying, or we are seriously ill, we tend to put aside our usual response, or hesitancy and are willing to try anything that might help. Some people will even go overseas to a shrine like Fatima or Lourdes seeking a cure. That’s expensive but, if a person can afford it, they will try anything. That’s the situation the synagogue official and the woman with the hemorrhage find themselves in our Gospel today.

Mark frequently tells a story within a story. Which is what he does today. He begins to share the story of the Jairus, whose daughter is very ill. But he interrupts this narrative with that of a woman suffering from hemorrhage. Both are seeking help from Jesus. So, where can Jesus be found? He is among people in need.

In both stories neither Jairus, nor the woman, have a remedy. The woman had “suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors” and the child was dead when Jesus arrived. The opinion of the onlookers at Jairus’ house was, “Your daughter has died, why trouble the teacher any longer?” Still, the woman and Jairus trust in Jesus. The miracles in the gospel show Jesus has the power to heal and give life: social class, status and influence do not matter, faith does. What attracts Jesus to the woman and Jairus, is the same thing that attracts him to us – our faith.

The place of women in the society at the time seems to have been close to Jesus’ heart. Women were not allowed to approach, or speak to a rabbi. Jesus doesn’t treat women as less, but as full human beings. The woman who was healed touching Jesus’ cloak approached him to, “tell him the whole truth.” It was as if she were excusing herself for breaking through the usual borders that separated this healer from the unclean woman. Her blood issue would have rendered her unclean and anyone she touched would also have been declared unclean.

She might have wanted to sneak away after her healing, and not make public what she has done. Jesus’ response to her was simple, “Daughter your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” She did not have to go through the rituals that would have declared her clean, free of her legal and ritual defilement. No, she is raised up by Jesus as he addresses her ... “My daughter….” We do not know her name. We do know that faith has saved her and she is a child (“daughter”) of Jesus; with the rest of us, also saved by our faith.

What fueled the woman’s faith? What gave her the courage to push through the crowd to get to Jesus and touch his cloak? After all, she was not part of his inner circle, not one of his male followers. The woman was like one of the psalmists who persist in their complaints to God; but don’t give up on God. Hers was the persistent faith of her ancestors – that faith helped her push aside fear and propriety to reach out to Jesus, her only hope. Was the woman’s faith an encouragement to Jairus, whose daughter’s condition led to her death?

The faith of the two echoes our Wisdom reading. God is not the author of death, nor takes delight in suffering. God was not testing the faith of the woman and Jairus. Rather, Jesus displays God’s will in the miracles: God wants the fullness of life for us.

Jairus was an official from the synagogue. He not only went publicly to ask Jesus’ help, but when he got to Jesus he “fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly.” What a public display by a member of an opposing party! But wouldn’t we also go to great lengths to help someone we love, no matter what others might think? Surely there were other ways Jairus could have attempted to get help for his daughter. He certainly could have afforded the best doctors. But he is desperate and Jesus has been healing people. In fact, in Mark’s gospel the healings flow quickly one after another. “If Jesus could heal others,” Jairus may have reasoned, “maybe he can heal my daughter.”

The story of the woman healed of her hemorrhage, and Jairus, whose daughter was restored to life, shows how God is present in our world in Jesus, responding to suffering, pain and death. Jesus heals, brings back to life and restores relationships. He is present to need, responding with love, empathy and compassion. And more. He shares our pain and burdens and breaking through prejudice and shattering conventions that keep us apart from one another and from society. A person in pain reaches out to him and he affirms their presence and their faith.

Mark’s story addresses how God deals with evil, pain and death. So, the story of the woman and Jairus is also our story. When we are afraid; when we face death, we can feel Jesus’ touch, as the girl felt Jesus’ hand in hers. We need to hear Jesus affirming our faith and raising us up. Listen again to the opening line from our Wisdom reading today: “God did not make death….” Jesus has shown that, in his hands, we are imperishable.

Jesus responds to desperate need with love, empathy and compassion. He shares our pain and our burdens. He boldly shatters prejudice and breaks conventions. He is not afraid to enter the place where death seems to have its way and breaks.

Click here for a link to this Sunday’s readings:




“A Time to Keep Silence and A Time to Speak”
Mary Catherine Hilkert, OP, (Los Angeles: Marymount Institute Press, 2023)


These lectures, on the spirituality of Catherine of Siena, were given at Loyola Marymount University. Beginning with an exposition of Catherine’s life and spirituality, Hilkert asks, “...who and where are the Catherine of Sienas of our day – those whose voices cry out for justice and reform in both the public arena and the Church.”



God did not make death, nor does God rejoice in the destruction of the living. Wisdom 1:13

Our First Reading reminds us that death and destruction are not God’s plan for us. Rather, God wills the fullness of life for all. As we approach Independence Day, July 4th , pray for a deepening of hope in your heart for the freedom and peace to be found in seeking the common good. And, as we work for the common good, may we experience the fullness of life that God intends. As Paul writes in the Second Reading: “Your abundance at the present time should supply their needs, so that their abundance may also supply your needs, that there may be equality.”


Issued only two months before Pope John XXIII’s death in 1963, his encyclical, Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth), calls for the development of a universal common good, condemns the arms race, and supports efforts to build peace. His message is still timeless. He writes, “When the relations of human society are expressed in terms of rights and duties, men become conscious of spiritual values, understand the meaning and significance of truth, justice, charity and freedom, and become more deeply aware that they belong to this world of values” (Part I).


I often think that our spiritual values have been lost in our consumer /producer /celebrity society. As Wisdom writes, “God does not rejoice in the destruction of the living.” Yet, I wonder about a society like ours that tolerates homelessness, where budgets are slashed in areas like childcare and education, and where women still carry the greatest share of poverty and inequity. God must cry a great deal.


What’s a person to do? The task seems overwhelming. First of all, one has to step out from one’s box on a local level. Dry God’s tears through a conversation with God about where to use your talents for the common good. Then, and this is key, say “YES!” and just do it. Don’t wait until you have more time or are perfect in your task as you will miss the adventure along the way and all the relationships you will meet. Keep up your conversation with God (aka prayer) and your eye on the spiritual values of truth, justice, charity and freedom. You will discover a whole new world, not one formed by advertisers, but one planned by God from the beginning. Have fun and be joyful, you are part of God’s plan.


For opportunities:

Barbara Molinari Quinby, MPS, Director

Office of Human Life, Dignity, and Justice Ministries

Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, Raleigh, NC




Mini reflections on the Sunday scripture readings designed for persons on the run. “Faith Book” is also brief enough to be posted in the Sunday parish bulletins people take home.

From today’s Gospel reading:


Jesus said to the woman,
“Daughter your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”




Jesus’ stop to address the woman shows he considered her and her need as important and as pressing as that of the prominent religious leader Jairus. Once again Jesus shows that the marginalized have an important place in his ministry and his invitation to the reign of God.


So we ask ourselves:

  • Are there people we think who are more important to Jesus than we are?

  • Are there people whose voices we tend to ignore because they have a lower place in our society?



“One has to strongly affirm that condemnation to the death penalty is an inhuman measure that humiliates personal dignity, in whatever form it is carried out." ---Pope Francis

Inmates on death row are the most forgotten people in the prison system. Each week I am posting in this space several inmates’ names and locations. I invite you to write a postcard to one or more of them to let them know that: we have not forgotten them; are praying for them and their families; or, whatever personal encouragement you might like to give them. If the inmate responds, you might consider becoming pen pals.


Please write to:

  • Blanche Moore #0288088 (On death row since 11/16/1990)

  • Carlette Parker #0311386 (4/1/1999)

Females are housed at:


NC Correctional Institution for Women - Raleigh, NC
1034 Bragg St, Raleigh, NC 27610


For more information on the Catholic position on the death penalty go to the Catholic Mobilizing Network:


On this page you can sign “The National Catholic Pledge to End the Death Penalty.” Also, check the interfaith page for People of Faith Against the Death Penalty:




“First Impressions” is a service to preachers and those wishing to prepare for Sunday worship. It is sponsored by the Dominican Friars. If you would like “First Impressions” sent weekly to a friend, send a note to Fr. John Boll, OP at


If you would like to support this ministry, please send tax deductible contributions to Fr. Jude Siciliano, O.P.:

St. Albert Priory
3150 Vince Hagan Drive
Irving, Texas 75062-4736


Make checks payable to: Dominican Friars.


Or, go to our webpage to make an online donation:






We have compiled Four CDs for sale:

  • Individual CDs for each Liturgical Year, A, B or C.

  • One combined CD for “Liturgical Years A, B and C.

If you are a preacher, lead a Lectionary-based scripture group, or are a member of a liturgical team, these CDs will be helpful in your preparation process. Individual worshipers report they also use these reflections as they prepare for Sunday liturgy.


You can order the CDs by going to our webpage: and clicking on the “First Impressions” CD link on the left.




1. "HOMILÍAS DOMINICALES" ---These Spanish reflections on the Sunday and daily scriptures are written by Dominican sisters and friars. If you or a friend would like to receive these reflections drop a note to "Fr. John J. Boll, O.P." <>


2. "VOLUME 2" is an opportunity for you to hear from the readers of First Impressions.  To subscribe or Send your own reflections: Send them to "Fr. John J. Boll, O.P." < >  Your contributions to Volume 2 are welcome.


OUR WEBSITE: - Where you will find Preachers Exchange, which includes "First Impressions," "Homilías Dominicales," and "Volume 2" as well as articles, book reviews, daily homilies and other material pertinent to preaching and Scripture reflection.




Email "Fr. John J. Boll, O.P." <>



(The latest are always listed first.)

• 18th SUNDAY •
• 17th SUNDAY •
• 16th SUNDAY •
• 15th SUNDAY •
• 14th SUNDAY •
• 13th SUNDAY •

©Copyright 1999 - 2024 Dominican Friars

HOME Contact Us Site Map St. Dominic