Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Thirteenth Sunday of the Year – July 1, 2018

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Wisdom 1: 13-15, 2: 23-242 Corinthians 8: 7, 9, 13-15Mark 5: 21-24, 35b-43

 

In composing the Gospel account, the Evangelist Mark developed the first part of his text around a simple question: who is this person, Jesus? What can we know about him? What can we expect of him? Rather than simply hearing the accounts of different events that took place, we are to listen to what is being recalled with the view of what does this event tell us about Jesus.

 

Perhaps Mark chose to include this report of an encounter between Jesus and a synagogue leader because synagogue leaders were among those who questioned Jesus and were skeptical about him. Perhaps Jairus was approaching him for selfish reasons. “What might Jesus be able to do for me?” In a way, it almost sounds too familiar.

 

It is easy to see Jairus acting out of a selfish motivation. Here is this wonder-worker, he might say. I have a problem. Maybe he can solve it. There is a major insight into Jairus, however. He does not give up. He hears that his daughter is dead yet persists in his request, despite the ridicule of the crowd that is present.

 

The whole incident points out an important lesson in the relationship with God. In the dialogue with God that is apart of the relationship with God, in the prayer life in which we speak to God for something, we might think of being on a lesser level in that relationship, a dependent level that somehow seeks to manipulate a response that is favorable to what we want.

 

Think about this on a human level. When we are in the position of having to ask for a favor we are rather reluctant to do this with some people. It puts us into a position of dependency. There is a certain degree of risk that might be involved. We fear that we might have to do something in return for that favor. But, with other persons, or perhaps only with one person, where there is genuine love, where the relationship is truly deep and abiding, there is no fear. To ask a favor is very much a part of that relationship. There is no cost. There is no need to reciprocate because of the level of the relationship, the love that is present.

 

We can understand Jesus as making known what level of a relationship with God we are to strive to achieve with God. God is the author of life, of all that is good, as the Book of Wisdom points out. God wants to share with us all that is good. This is how we can understand what Jesus is doing in this incident. He is giving life back to the little girl. It is an illustration of who he is. It reveals that Jesus is: the one who restores the life-giving plan of God.

 

In showing the need for God we are, in reality, showing our love for God. We are attempting to achieve with God the same thing that is present in the human situation mentioned above. It is a closeness to God, a depth of the relationship with God, that flows naturally from us and from a genuine union with God. It is a relationship with God that reaches a level of total confidence, total trust, total love.

 

The lesson of the raising of the daughter of Jairus is simple yet profound. The Lord seeks to give himself to us totally as the giver of life. He wishes to share life. He wishes to share love. The Lord wants us to be able to develop a familiarity, a trust, a love to such a degree that we act freely and without fear and, in so doing, reveal truly good and gracious God