We are approaching the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, and to assist us in preparing for this Sunday I invite you to enter into the following reflection on the Gospel reading:
“It is to be hoped that the whole of this gospel is proclaimed this Sunday, as the option for the shorter version cuts out the portrait of the woman with a hemorrhage that is framed by the two-part narrative of Jairus’s daughter. Mark deliberately structures his narrative so that the two stories relate to one another.
Jairus, a synagogue official, appeals not to the synagogue but to Jesus for the healing of his daughter. As Jesus and Jairus are on the way to his house, they are interrupted. A woman who is hemorrhaging, probably from a gynecological cause, worms her way through the crowd and touches his clothes. In first-century Palestine, a menstruating woman was regarded as ritually “unclean,” excluded from relationships with her husband, family, friends, and worshiping assembly. Anyone or anything with which she came into contact during those days was also regarded as unclean. For twelve years, Mark tells us, the desperate woman had wasted money on physicians, and becoming even worse she had endured a living death of alienation. Regarded as a “contaminant,” she should not even have been out in a pressing crowd; but she is ready now to risk being identified in the desperate hope that if she could only touch Jesus’s garment she would be cured. (In Greek, the word translated here as “cured” is also the word for “saved.”)
As she touches Jesus, the woman knows immediately that she is healed. In the depths of her body there is a sigh of relief and joy. When Jesus asks, “Who has touched my clothes?” the woman comes forward, falls down “in fear and trembling,” but caring nothing now about who hears her story. Then from being nobody’s daughter, disowned as wife, or mother, or sister, or friend, she hears herself named by Jesus as “Daughter.” Jesus sends her away in peace, for her faith in him has brought not only physical healing that allows her to return after twelve years to her normal everyday relationships, but also establishes a new relationship as a member of the family of faith.
And so as Jesus continues to Jairus’s house, now as someone who has violated taboos and been “contaminated” with ritual uncleanness by the woman, word comes that the girl has died. But Jesus encourages Jairus to have the same faith as the woman. When they reach the house, Jesus faces ridicule, scorn, and the ultimate enemy – death. With the girl’s parents clinging desperately to the last thread of hope, Jesus takes the girl by the hand and tells her to “arise!” That Mark has retained in this narrative the mother tongue of Jesus and those with him, adds to the precious intimacy of the miracle. After rising from the dead, she begins to walk around, and Jesus tells the young woman’s parents to give her something to eat—a sequence of events that parallels the resurrection appearances of Jesus himself and has eucharistic memories for Christian communities gathered as we are today for a meal of thanksgiving and nourishing.
The young woman is, says Mark, twelve years old. Blood now courses again through her body and, at about the age of beginning menstruation, she now has a future and a marriageable hope. The woman who had hemorrhaged for twelve years, whose menstruation was her shame, is also healed and whole. Both women can now go and live their womanhood in peace and wholeness, for God’s reigning presence has touched and restored their lives through Jesus. These women announce to us the situation of women throughout the world who, for whatever reason, are still conditioned or condemned to insignificance or abuse; all those women who are still marginalized by society, yet who grasp bravely at other possibilities. Nor can the church opt out of its responsibility. The church’s teaching about nondiscrimination needs to be applied to its own affairs. It must refer constantly back to Jesus and his way of relating to women and men in the Scriptures.” (Living Liturgy 2021)
According to the information that we received from the Diocese, on June 30th we will enter into the second stage of reopening. On that day we will be allowed to increase our Mass attendance to 25% capacity with all other pandemic protocols in place. This second stage is currently set to last until July 21st.
As you know, this coming Wednesday is the day when the pastoral moves take place. Please pray for the pastors and associate pastors who will be embracing their new parish communities. Fr. Ross Campbell will be arriving at St. Francis Xavier Parish at 12 noon that day to take over care of this parish family. Presumably his assistant Fr. Peter Robinson, who will be ordained to the priesthood tomorrow (Saturday), will be joining him either that same day or soon after. All the best to them in their assignment serving God’s people in our Stoney Creek area.
This will be my last Friday email. I have been sending them weekly for the past year or so to all parishioners who were willing to share their email addresses with me in order to provide some spiritual preparation for upcoming Sundays and to help keep everyone posted on the happenings at SFX. Thank you to all of you for your interest in the content, and to those who gave me some feedback. God bless you.
We are continuing to hold online gatherings on Zoom to help parishioners stay connected during this time when our regular ministries and programs can not take place in person. This week’s gathering is Coffee With the Clergy on Monday evening, hosted by Fr. Claude and Deacon Carmelo. Please visit the online bulletin for more details, and contact Wes at email@example.com if you would like the Zoom invite.
Registration is now open for our summer online activities for students! This summer we will be holding two weeks of an online mini-camp for students entering Grades 3-6 in the fall. Each day of camp will focus on a different saint and will include games, prayer, videos, crafts, and outdoor activities! Kits with supplies will be delivered to campers in advance. Students going into Grades 7 and up can volunteer as leaders!
We will also be having an online evening series for those entering Grades 7-12 called Coffee with Jesus. Through stories from Scripture, videos, small group conversations, prayer, and games, this 4-part series will encourage participants to accept Jesus’ invitation to be refreshed and renewed by their relationship with him! More information for both of these online activities, as well as registration forms, can be found here.
Join us this weekend for the celebration of the Lord’s Day Mass in person at our three regular times if you are able. Parishioners who cannot be with us in person can access the livestream of the 9AM Sunday Mass on our YouTube channel as always.
God bless, everyone.
PS. To make the famous words of Captain Kirk from Star Trek my own: “Mariusz out!” 🙂