Gospel Reflection: Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1

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.


Mk 5:21-43 or 5:21-24, 35b-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.


The Book of Wisdom so beautifully tells us that God “fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome…” God created all things, including the human person, to be good and whole. When sin and death entered the world, brokenness, sickness, and pain became part of our experience. In answer to our need, the Father sent His Son to save us from destruction and lead us to what would make mankind whole again.

The Gospel, which recounts Our Lord healing a woman’s chronic infirmity and bringing life to the young daughter of Jairus, shows us the power given to Him to bring about true restoration. For both the afflicted woman and Jairus, Our Lord praises their faith in His power to do such great things.

There are times in life when we desperately wish that God would perform a miracle to take away our pain or suffering, something extraordinary like the healings described in our Gospel. Without doubt, God still does work miracles like these, if He sees them necessary for our growth in holiness and our salvation. We can see countless examples of the intercession of His Saints for such miraculous healings.

However, God’s healing work is often subtle and ordinary. It can even appear slow from our perspective, seeming not to be a miracle at all. Many times, the response God gives to our fervent prayers is newfound strength to bear difficulties, clarity amidst the confusion that may emerge, or peace that our hearts need in the midst of a real storm. These are not a “consolation prize” in place of receiving God’s favor. Instead, these are true expressions of the healing touch and gentle mercy of Our Lord, real answers to the prayers of faith we present to Him.

The Sunday Readings in recent weeks have invited us to place our confidence and faith in the Divine Will of God, Who always promises to be with us and to guide us through life. Strengthened by the healing power of the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist, we pray for the grace to surrender everything to His loving hands, especially our crosses and sufferings. He, the Divine Physician, will give us the healing our hearts truly need.

Please be assured of my prayers for you before Our Lord, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

+ Bishop Schlert


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