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Contents: Volume 2 - The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 27, 2021

 

The

13th

Sunday

(B)


1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP

2. -- Carol & Dennis Keller

3. -- Brian Gleeson CP

4. -- Paul O'Reilly SJ

5. --(Your reflection can be here!)

 

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1.

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Sun. 13 B 2021

Is there anyone reading/hearing today's Gospel or reading this reflection who couldn't use a genuine miracle or knows someone to whom they would gift such a wondrous thing? Probably not. Our world is needy indeed and so are we, its inhabitants.

It seems that we are looking at a glass half full vs. half empty or a life of trials or blessings. The truth is that both points of view are valid and accurate... but only at a particular time. What I am suggesting here is that one's on-going attitude toward life itself is truly based on where one's vision focuses and rests.

Humankind is fickle for sure and our perspectives and circumstances do change. For life to be truly meaningful in the long run, I think that we must rely on faith. It is faith that reminds us that God made all things GOOD and that, according the first reading from the Book of Wisdom, the envy of the devil invited sin and death into the world.

The miracles that Jesus performed in our Gospel selection were based on faith. While a better physical life was granted to these people, the miracle of eternal life is offered to each of us. Praying and staying the course, trusting, and doing one's best seems to be the way to augment even the littlest amount of faith that one can muster at a time of trial.

Let us try to live our faith by walking along side of those who are in the midst of trials. Let us not try to fix things as if we were God, but rather just be present to people in need, letting God be God leading the way to better times. Let us trust that our own trials will pale when we remember God's promises.

Blessings,

Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP

Southern Dominican Laity

lanie@leblanc.one

 

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Thirteenth Sunday of Ordered Time June 27 2021

Wisdom 1:13-15 & 2:23-24; Responsorial Psalm 30; 2nd Corinthians 8:7 & 9 & 13-15; Gospel Acclamation 2nd Timothy 1:10; Mark 5:21-43

In large part, with the wonder and possibilities of technology producing instant communication, visual observations, and a Walter Cronkite "You are there," we are increasingly distant from one another. It is as though we are choosing to be observers removed from sharing in the experiences we observe. Sharing is both active and passive: that is what do we do about it and how does it cause us to suffer?

Isn’t this to some extent what happens when we listen to the readings each Sunday? Is it not the common practice to be observers? When we are only observers, the stories have no lasting impact. Take, for example, the violence of January sixth when a mob attacked the very foundation of our country. Of all the countries in the world, our country built its foundation for peace, prosperity, and fairness on a representative form of government. Thus, elections are critically important and participation in elections is not a privilege but an absolute requirement of each eligible citizen. When a persistent doubt about the integrity of elections is recreated into a political weapon, our representation by vote is destroyed. When a rabble is created by shouted words to divide and to capture unrestrained power, then violence raises its ugly head. Peace and prosperity exit. The creation of alternate realities by any power – not only political, not only religious, not only scientific, not only technology, not only by racism or sexism – that creation becomes a sickness that is a continuous flow of blood robbing our national community of inclusion, of vitality, and of hope. Hatred ensues and negates the consciences of many. Truth dies in the streets, charity is eviscerated, and hope is buried under the flotsam and jetsam of what was achieved and possibilities for a future. And because of the wonder of technology, the wounds we witnessed along with the anxiety obvious real through technology, we can review and comment about what we did not experience. Thus, technology relieves of us participation. It is just another show for so many. It allows us to take sides without any skin in the game. We are safe in our own rooms. We can opine and make judgements that lack consequence. We can ally with liars, thieves and charlatans or persons who study and know the truth.

Ouch! This sounds like a political statement, a rant against a political party. The gospel this Sunday brought this to mind. But not only the gospel, but the reading from Wisdom also insists each of us are unwilling participants in that final of all finalities, death. That reading insists that God did NOT create death. Even in the time before Jesus, when the notion of eternal life was still in gestation, the Wisdom writer insists all creatures of the world are wholesome – no destructive drug among them nor any place for control by the netherworld. Wisdom quotes: "For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world and they who belong to his company experience it."

Hearing these words written about three thousand years ago, we are urged to think about our living. In whose company do we participate? Are we consistently aware and live as though we are in the image of God? What is that image, anyway? How is it possible to live in the way of God’s image?

In the Hebrew Scriptures, a consistent image of God in his relationships with the People is his loving kindness. However, constantly, the people turn to the devil in their choice of the way of living. They forget the God of mercy and compassion who repeatedly frees them from slavery. They turn their backs on the God whose presence is enshrined in the temple at the top Mount Sion in Jerusalem – that city whose name is peace. As we listen this Sunday to the words from Wisdom, are we included among those who live in the image of their Creator? Or do we include ourselves in the image of the evil one? If we fail to consider ourselves and how we live, then we are mere observers – just TV watchers. Thus, we are entertained or shocked, or lulled into sleep walking. Is that human life? Is that the best way to live?

Let us take a look at Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. He is clear we cannot be mere bystanders. I quote: "For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. Not that those others should have relief while you are burdened, but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their needs, so that their abundance may also supply your needs, that there may be equality."

Paul insists that Jesus, possessing the wealth, power, and status of being divine, became a participant in humanity with all its possibilities of prosperity, of poverty; of absolute joy and intolerable pain; of inclusion and of isolation; of vibrant health and crushing disease. The truth of Jesus is that God participates in human life through the Son of God. God believes in the necessity of sharing in humanity in order to include humanity in his life. Listen again to the Gospel Acclamation from Paul’s letter to Timothy: "Our savior Jesus Christ destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel." If we believe that Jesus shows us the wonder and magnificence of human life, then our hearts should drive us to ask that our eyes be opened to see the light and to live our personal lives in the fullness that God insists is our birthright.

Then we come to the gospel. What is confusing is that Mark inserts the story of the woman with a consistent and unabated hemorrhaging. She is a woman and in the time of her fertility she is excluded each month from participation in the life of the community – both religiously and secularly. She is unclean, unacceptable. Thus, for twelve years she is unable to ever be a member of the people of God. She is accustomed to being isolated, left out, shunned, ignored, and considered a non-person. She violates the prohibition of association and reaches out to Jesus. In touching even, the tassels of his garment, she makes Jesus unclean and isolated as well. Jesus must submit to a purification process to be acceptable to the community. Jesus senses that healing power has been taken from him. It is surprising to most of us that Jesus can become exhausted when he heals and preaches. Recall now, Jesus is human as well as divine. His humanity allows him to share in our condition. He participates. He is no mere observer, no mere watcher like the pagan gods. Jesus claims her as a member of his household when he calls her daughter. What a change for this woman: from rejected to beloved! She is no longer excluded periodically because she is a woman. She is an equal child of God. Even now, there is a struggle that women be equal in the community of believers. When will we hear the Word of God instructing us?

Jesus is on his way to the house of Jairus. It is strange that such a prominent person as the administrator of the synagogue should personally rush to find Jesus. Such a prominent person had servants to do his bidding. But it is Jairus who seeks Jesus. As a synagogue official he would have been suspicious of this itinerant teacher who taught strange things and violated so much of Pharisaic law. Yet when death touched his household, when death threatened his beloved daughter at the very moment of her becoming a woman, he overcame his prejudices and came to Jesus. How many prejudices do we need to overcome to come to this Jesus and participate in the life of God practiced in this world?

The daughter died as Jesus is on his way. He had been delayed by the woman. As the story unfolds, we come to realize that God helping others find their way does not prevent us from being helped on our way. It may seem God ignores us in favor of others but not so as this story informs us.

We remember the rest of the story, how Jesus chose to avoid being made a spectacle. Only the family and Peter, James, and John were present when Jesus addresses the little girl in Aramaic. "Little girl, I say to you arise." Why does Mark, writing in Greek to Romans suddenly insert a phrase in Aramaic? Most scholars say it is because those were the words Peter used when he told this story.

Where do we put ourselves in this story? Are we the isolated one, the one carrying a disease that restricts our spirits and/or our bodies? Or are we restricted because of our race, our gender, our classification in the socio-economic structures of our nation? How do we come to healing? How do we find the tassels of Jesus cloak?

Are we dead, wearied by conflict, by failures, by difficulties with family, with neighbors, with communities? How do we hear the words of Jesus – "little one, I say to you arise?" Be assured, if we are actually participating in life in our time and place, if we participate as persons in the image of God, if we share with those in need: if we make present the compassion and mercy and loving kindness of our God – then we in fact participate in the Kingdom of God. May it be so.

Carol & Dennis Keller dkeller002@nc.rr.com

 

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DESPERATE SEEKERS AND BELIEVERS: 13TH SUNDAY B

Along the road of life, we become aware of many desperate persons. How do they deal with their desperation? Over and over again we have learned of asylum seekers e.g., so desperate to escape from poverty and persecution, that they risk their lives by paying people-smugglers and climbing into overcrowded leaky boats heading for lands of freedom and opportunity. So, they are seeking something good for themselves and their families. But another group of desperadoes is hell-bent on inflicting hurt and harm on others. For instance, not so long ago an Australian sporting hero got so fed up with his marriage, that he went to the races, boozed all day, came home drunk and angry to his wife and children, and there before their eyes, set about wrecking their home and furniture, including his wife’s most precious personal possessions.

In the gospel today we meet both a man and a woman in two situations of such acute personal pain that they desperately seek from the great person of Jesus, life, hope, and healing. Jairus, the synagogue official and loving father of a ‘desperately sick’ twelve-year-old daughter, is convinced that if only Jesus would place his hands on her ‘to make her better and save her life,’ she would surely recover. The unnamed woman, suffering for twelve years from a gynecological condition for which she has spent her life savings on one doctor after another, has one last hope. She is convinced that ‘if she can touch even his clothes,’ she will surely ‘be well again.’

The very moment this suffering and faith-filled woman touches the clothes of Jesus, she senses that she is cured of her condition. But Jesus does not let her just slink away anonymously into the crowd. He wants to meet the whole person, not just her ailment. Neither does he want to be treated like a magician or a mobile relic. Turning right around he asks, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ His question and his look bring the woman forward. Trembling with fear, she falls at his feet and tells him the whole truth. Jesus has insisted on meeting her face-to-face, not to humiliate her, but to praise her for her faith, and to send her on her way, feeling mightily relieved and at peace.

While Jesus is still speaking, messengers come to tell Jairus that his beloved daughter has died. Jesus overhears this, and immediately says to this grieving father, ‘Don’t be afraid; only have faith.’ Taking with him his inner circle of disciples - Peter, James and John - Jesus goes into the house where he encounters mourners weeping and wailing at the top of their voices. When he tells them that the child is not dead but asleep, their mourning turns to mockery. They are no help at all. So, he throws them out. Then, accompanied by the child’s mother and father and his three close friends, Jesus goes into the child’s room. Supported by this little community of faith, Jesus takes her by the hand and prompts her to get up. When she does so, he adds the kind and touching words: ‘Give her something to eat.’

It’s worth dwelling on the details of Mark’s two stories because they give us valuable insight into the character of Jesus. They tell us of someone who feels acutely the desperate pain of others, and who does not disappoint those who approach him for help. There are mothers and fathers e.g., who keep grieving for their dead children long after others have forgotten or have moved on. To Jesus, these children are just as precious as the daughter of Jairus. As the Risen Lord, he will come to awaken them. We firmly believe that. That’s why Jesus keeps saying, ‘Don’t be afraid; only have faith.’

Of course, many mock our belief and hope in life after death. They claim that death destroys us, wipes us out, and leads us nowhere. But there’s no place for that attitude among us. After all, we are Christians. We believe strongly in Jesus as the ‘Resurrection and the Life’, and in his reassuring words, ‘Don’t be afraid; only have faith.’

The woman who came to Jesus was deeply and even desperately wounded. All of us too are wounded – some more, some less. But people can be wounded without showing it. They can carry such invisible wounds as their thoughts and feelings of rejection, failure, guilt, worthlessness, loneliness, bitterness, and hostility.

All of us need healing, and all of us can be ‘wounded healers’ too. Our lives are continually touching those of others. With a little sympathy, we can heal a wounded heart. With a little care, we can ease a troubled mind. With a little time, we can lessen another’s loneliness.

So at least now and then, let us stop and ask ourselves, ‘What is going out from me in my words, my actions, and my relationships? How am I coming through? Am I hurting and humiliating others? Or, under God, as a ‘wounded healer’ myself, and as an agent of the healing Jesus, am I healing them, putting them back together again?’ In short, am I for them, a friend or a foe?

"Brian Gleeson CP" <bgleesoncp@gmail.com>

 

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Year B: 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time

"'If I can touch even his clothes,' she had told herself, 'I shall be well again.'"

Despite my great age, I wasn’t actually there at the time, so I cannot tell you what the place looked like. Nor what the people looked like. Nor even what Jesus looked like. But I am pretty sure that I can tell you what the woman looked like. At least I know what expression she had on her face as she approached Jesus.

I know this because it is a face which I see every week as some women approach Jesus. At the time of Holy Communion, they come, very slowly and very, very hesitantly, up the aisle. They cross their arms across the chest, like this (gesture), not feeling good enough, for whatever reason, to receive the Blessed Sacrament – the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus. And as they cross themselves, they seem to shrink a little bit, both in height and within themselves. As if something within their souls shrivels at this reminder of their own unworthiness. An unworthiness, let us all remember, in no way notably greater than each of our own.

But still they come forward, slowly, hesitantly, fearfully feeling in that instant, the fear of rejection almost beating them. But they feel the fear and do it anyway. Still they come forward in hope of blessing, in hope that still, somehow, they may be close to Jesus, close to hope, close to salvation, As close as they dare to the Presence of God’s healing Love in the world. They hope to reach out, just a little, and to be touched by the love of Christ, even if it is only the hem of his garment, they know that the touch of God’s presence in the world can and will heal them. And it is that hope which is stronger than their fear of rejection. And it is amongst the greatest privileges of my ordination that I get to be the one who meets them halfway with the love of God, the touch of Christ and the blessing of the Holy Spirit.

So let’s just pray today for all those who fear rejection for what they believe they have done, or failed to do which holds them back from receiving fully God’s love in the world. And let us is pray that their hope of blessing may always be stronger than their fear of rejection.

Let us stand and profess our Faith in the Presence of God’s Love in the world.

Paul O'Reilly, SJ <fatbaldnproud@opalityone.net>

 

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-- Fr. John Boll, OP
 


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