Sunday, June 27, 2021
First reading: Wis. 1:13-15, 2:23-24
God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. For he fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of the netherworld on earth, for justice is undying. 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.
Second reading: 2 Cor. 8:7,9,13-15
Brothers and sisters: As you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you, may you excel in this gracious act also.
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 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. As it is written: Whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less.
Gospel: Mk. 5:21-43
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.
There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” But his disciples said to Jesus, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”
While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. At that they were utterly astounded. He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.
In other words Fr. Magdaleno Fabiosa, SVD (Tagbilaran City, Bohol)
I’ll never forget a scene in a movie of a mother slowly dying of cancer. Her daughter, who knew her mom as a strong and self-willed woman, asked her, “Are you scared, Mom?” The mother responded, “Yes, dear; in life, I always tried to anticipate what would come next so that I would be in control of every situation. But now, I do not know what comes after I die. I am scared.”
The first reading today mentions death as coming from the devil; today’s gospel also talks about death. In 2005, the world was witness to two attitudes towards death. When Pope John Paul II died, the world heard the Vatican making this announcement, “Just a few moments ago, our beloved Pope John Paul II has gone back to the Father! A few days later, the monarch of the Kingdom of Monaco, Prince Rainier I also died and announced as, “Our beloved king is not with us anymore. He died an hour ago.” These two announcements gave contrasting attitudes towards death. The Christian view is characterized by optimism and certainty about death and where one goes after dying. The other speaks of uncertainty and a sense of hesitation regarding death’s reality. This latter perspective is how the world sees death. Hence, the fear of death haunts many people. Many are scared that they will disappear into oblivion—like smoke disappearing into thin air—when they die.
Where does this optimism and certainty of the Christian view on death come from? It comes from our faith, which is beautifully expressed in the Preface of the Mass for the Dead. The Church prays thus, “Lord, for your faithful people, life is changed not ended. When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death, we gain an everlasting dwelling in heaven.” Death is NEVER an end. It is a transition to that life God has prepared for us—the destiny of us all. This conviction about death is behind that certainty of the announcement, “our beloved Pope John Paul II has gone back to the Father.” The dead person is now released from the restriction of the physical in order to be with God. The 3rd Eucharistic Prayer expresses this truth beautifully, “Welcome into your Kingdom our departed brothers and sisters, and all who have left this world in your friendship. There we hope to share in your glory when every tear will be wiped away. On that day, we shall se you, our God, as you are. We shall become like you and praise you forever through Christ our Lord.”