I Say To You, Arise!
Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time - B

Frank Enderle
Reproduced with Permission

The Gospel Reading tells us about a spectacular healing that Our Lord performed. One day, when the Lord was preaching, a man named Jairus approached him. Even though he was an important man, the head of the synagogue, Jairus threw himself at Jesus’ feet and pleaded insistently, ““My daughter is about to die. Come, lay your hands on her so that she may be healed and live.” Without thinking twice, Jesus immediately started off to Jairus’ house. I don’t know the reason that the Lord decided to go to Jairus’ house just then. He must have seen something in this very important man who had humbled himself by asking Jesus for help. What the Gospel does let us see clearly that Jairus had a lot of faith. He had heard of Jesus and immediately believed in Him and in His power, in spite of never having met Him.

Even though many people had gathered together to hear Jesus preach, the Lord only allowed Peter, John, and James to accompany Him. When they were nearing the house, someone came up to Jairus and said to him, “Your daughter has died. Why bother the Master any more?” Jesus heard this and said, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” When they arrived and entered the house, Jesus saw that those present were crying, feeling helpless in the face of death. He asked them why they were so sad. And then He said to them, “The girl is not dead; she is asleep.” They merely laughed at Him. Here we see, as in other occasions, the firmness and the courage of Christ. Instead of reacting in anger, feeling slighted, as we might have, He simply and quietly ordered everyone out of the room, only allowing the father and the mother of the child to stay. That is when He cured the child and told her parents to give her some food.

Before Jesus could perform the miracle, he asked those who did not believe to leave. Jairus, being a pious man, knew that only God could cure the sick and raise the dead. He understood, without ever having seen Jesus, that the Master had divine power. He truly believed that the Lord could bring about the cure. This man’s faith makes us feel small. It is a faith that any Christian could envy. When He heard Jairus’ words, Jesus saw the faith that he had, so the Lord did not shrink back from helping him. Those who were gathered together in the Jairus’ house did not have that same faith. That is why the laughed when the Lord told them that the child was only asleep. They could not believe in the power of Christ and that is why the Lord told them to leave the room. Unconditional faith in the Risen Christ is an essential element in the faith of all Christians.

In the Second Reading we see how Saint Paul tries to convince the Christians of Corinth that they should be generous with the Christian community in Jerusalem. The Christians of Jerusalem, constantly persecuted by the Jewish authorities, greatly needed the monetary aid they received from other Christian communities. As soon as they declared that there belief in Christ, Christians would, many times, lose their jobs and the support and help of their families. Saint Paul reminds the Corinthians that they should remember all of the times that God has helped them. He hoped that this would be enough to make them commit themselves to sharing all of their goods with those who are needier. We should always remember that God does not bless timid and self-centered communities that refuse to come to the aid of those who need their help. Communities like this, sooner or later, end up withering like plants that do not receive the heat of the sun.

What Saint Paul said to the Corinthians should make us ask ourselves: How can we remain impassive seeing who many of our brothers and sisters in the faith feel the wounds of discrimination simply because they are not citizens of this country? Let us not allow ourselves to be fooled by those who would divide us from them. The Bible tells us that true Christians are easily recognized. They are the generous ones, the ones who support their neighbor, no matter what the nationality of their neighbor may be. And Jesus tells us that we have to decide: are we or are we not true Christians?