13th Sunday of ordinary time B
June 27, 2021
Mark 5: 21 - 43
By Rev. John Tran
Like many Sunday readings this month, we have been focusing on faith and trust. This Sunday, we have one of the deepest insights into faith in the interaction between Jesus and Jairus. Jairus has faith in Jesus, but at one point it does not seem to make any difference.
Jairus’ young daughter is about to die. Surely Jairus has done everything possible to cure the girl, but nothing was working. Then, he hears that Jesus is in the neighborhood. Now Jairus forms a new plan; he will ask Jesus for help. He puts his faith in Jesus. With his house full of people and his daughter on her death bed, Jairus leaves his house and puts his plan into action. No doubt he astonished his family and neighbors.
Jairus finds Jesus and pleads with him to come and heal his girl. He trusted that if Jesus would do that, she would live. Jesus agrees to go and the set off for the house. Then the tragic news arrives. It is too late; the child has died, so Jairus’ plan can no longer work. His faith has failed. The people bring the news say, “Your daughter has died. Why trouble the teacher any longer.” Jairus knows there is nothing left to do.
Instead of leaving, Jesus says a curious thing: “Do not be afraid. Just have faith.” Jairus probably was disturbed by this directive. He may have thought that he did have faith that Jesus could cure his daughter, but now it is too late; she is dead. My plan to have faith in you did not work.
It would take Jairus some time to realize that Jesus had another plan that would work. As Jairus’ plan fell apart when he was told of his daughter’s death, Jesus’ plan would succeed. Jairus had planed that his daughter would be healed. Jesus was planning to raise her from the dead.
Of course, we are responsible people who must make plans for our lives and have faith that Jesus will help us fulfill them. But we must also remember that God may have plans different from our own. We are consoled in today’s gospel that when Jairus’ plan fell apart, Jesus is already walking with him on the road to the place where Jesus’ plan will work. The thing about faith is to remember that Jesus is walking with us. So, when our best efforts fail, we can turn to him and say in trust, “It looks like my plan did not work. Now it is time for you to show me yours.” When we do this, we are becoming more like Jesus in the way he related to his Father: Father, your will be done.
A mother had an only child, a son. He was confined in a hospital, seriously ill. She cared for him as best she could. When some relatives or friends dropped by, she asked them to attend to her son while she went to the Chapel. On her knees and in tears before the Blessed Sacrament, she began by acknowledging God as the Source of life, and thanked Him for the gift of her son who has brought joy to her life. Then she beseeches God to spare him. The worse his condition became, the harder she prayed. But her prayers notwithstanding, her son died. Her relatives and friends were worried how she would take this turn of events. Were they surprised to see her take her son's death in peace!
When asked how come, she answered, “What I prayed for was what I wanted. But during my prayer, there was something in me that said, 'Let go, let God.' Thus at one point, I finally said, 'Your will be done, Lord.' With my child's death, it was obvious that God did not go along with what I wanted. Though painful, I accepted His will wholeheartedly. He knew best.”
If something doesn’t happen that we ask for, something better is in God’s mind. Something greater is on the way. For these reasons, we can persevere in prayer and pray continually.
Finally, praying for Christians is not about making God human, but about our becoming divine. God’s one desire for each of us is that we be his children, trusting in his goodness. When we learn to pray with trust, then we will also learn to see the goodness of our God in whatever comes to us in our daily lives. The Spirit within us will give us the strength and courage we will need to handle the situations of our life-journey. And this is the Good News of today.