MEMORIAL OF ST. JOHN BOSCO, PRIEST

January 31, 2017

 

Hebrews 12: 1-4

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

 

Psalm 22: 25b-27, 29-31

 

My vows I will pay before those who fear him.
The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
    those who seek him shall praise the Lord.
    May your hearts live forever!

All the ends of the earth shall remember
    and turn to the Lord;
and all the families of the nations
    shall worship before him.

 

To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down;
    before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
    and I shall live for him.
Posterity will serve him;
    future generations will be told about the Lord,
and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn,
    saying that he has done it.

 

Mark 5: 21-43

 

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” So he went with him.

 

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

 

While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing[b]what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

 

(NRSVCE)

 

 

Meditation

 

The Scriptures today continue to teach us how to live a life of faith. Walking in faith almost guarantees that we will face obstacles and be called to persevere in spite of them. We see two examples of this in the Gospel today. Both Jairus and the woman with the hemorrhage had healing needs and they knew they needed Jesus only to help them. Both needed to push through opposition:  the woman had to struggle against a crowd, and Jairus had to face the lack of faith of his peers and even the reality that it may have been too late. In both circumstances, Jesus assured them that it was their unwavering faith that had brought them to the point of seeing miracles.

 

Jesus went before us to show us how to walk in faith. Faith led Him to death because He knew it led to resurrection and our salvation, and faith often leads us through a process of death as well. The woman in the Gospel had to persevere in faith despite the progressive weakness of her body and shame that her society had put on her. Jairus had to face the actual death of his daugther and choose to look at Jesus instead. The first reading assures us that our faith will never be tested quite like the faith of Jesus, so we can take courage knowing that, if we continue to fix our eyes upon Him alone, like Jairus and the woman in the Gospel, He will help us reach the destination that He has laid out for us. The key is putting our sins, distractions, and selfish tendencies to death while running toward Jesus. We may not need to resist sin to the point of shedding blood, as Jesus did, but when we die to ourselves, we are offering our lives as a sacrifice of faith. We will be transformed, and we will open the door for the Lord to work in our lives in ways that we had not seen before.

 

Prayer: Lord, today I thank you for the gift of faith, and I look to you to lead me through all the obstacles to faith that I might face. Help me to cast off the burdens and sinful attitudes that hinder my faith and to fix my eyes on you, the way that Jairus and the woman in the Gospel did. Thank you for your desire to work in me, to draw me closer to you, and for all the plans you have in store for my life. Amen.

 

 

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