Sunday, July 1, 2012

“For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”

“The badge of courage does not require that we walk through something dangerous. It simply requires that we continue to share God's love whenever and wherever we are.”

Gospel text (Mk 5,21-43): Jesus crossed to the other side of the lake and while He was still on the shore, a large crowd gathered around him. Jairus, an official of the synagogue, came up and seeing Jesus, threw himself at his feet and asked him earnestly, «My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her so that she may get well and live». Jesus went with him and many people followed, pressing from every side. 

Among the crowd was a woman who had suffered from bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a lot at the hands of many doctors and had spent everything she had, but instead of getting better, she was worse. Since she had heard about Jesus, this woman came up behind him and touched his cloak thinking, «If I just touch his clothing, I shall get well». Her flow of blood dried up at once, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her complaint. But Jesus was conscious that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, «Who touched my clothes?». His disciples answered, «You see how the people are crowding around you. Why do you ask who touched you?». But he kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, aware of what had happened, came forward trembling and afraid. She knelt before him and told him the whole truth. Then Jesus said to her, «Daughter, your faith has saved you; go in peace and be free of this illness».

While Jesus was still speaking, some people arrived from the official's house to inform him, «Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Master any further?». But Jesus ignored what they said and told the official, «Do not fear, just believe». And He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James and John, the brother of James.

When they arrived at the house, Jesus saw a great commotion with people weeping and wailing loudly. Jesus entered and said to them, «Why all this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep». They laughed at him. But Jesus sent them outside and went with the child's father and mother and his companions into the room where the child lay. Taking her by the hand, he said to her, «Talitha kumi!» which means: “Little girl, get up!”. The girl got up at once and began to walk around. (She was twelve years old.) The parents were astonished, greatly astonished. Jesus strictly ordered them not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat.

The dictionary defines 'fear' as "an emotional reaction to a perceived threat of evil to our well-being." Fear, then, is an emotional reaction. We can be afraid of things that are not actually evil, even though they might be perceived as such. That which we fear could actually help us grow in faith. For example, a severe downturn in the economy could compel us to turn to the Lord, walk more closely with Him, and trust Him more than ever before. However, there are some things we should fear. We teach children to fear things that can harm them, such as a hot burner on the stove. As adults, we should be especially afraid of things that can harm our soul.

To overcome fear, we need faith (Mk 5:36). The synagogue official and the woman with the chronic bleeding both broke through any fears to come to Jesus. The synagogue official risked ruining his reputation with his Jewish peers. The bleeding woman was 'unclean'; she would have been fearful of passing on her uncleanness to anyone who touched her (see Lv 13:45). Nonetheless, each stepped past that emotional reaction of fear and stepped out in faith.

Of what should you be afraid? Be afraid of not becoming all that Jesus wants you to be. 

Today at Mass, when you receive Jesus in the Eucharist, give over to the Lord that one powerful fear that keeps you from becoming the disciple God wants you to be. Surrender your fear today and let Jesus put it away forever.

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