June 30: “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”

Thirteenth Sunday Ordinary, first option for the Gospel.

Dear brothers and sisters, in today’s readings for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, we are invited to reflect deeply on the themes of life, faith, and the boundless compassion of God. Through the passages from the Book of Wisdom, Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, and the Gospel of Mark, we witness a profound message that underscores God’s desire for life and wholeness, the call for mutual generosity, and the transformative power of faith in Jesus Christ.                       

The first reading from the Book of Wisdom reminds us of a fundamental truth: God is the Creator of life, not death. “God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.” This powerful statement refutes any notion that God finds pleasure in suffering or demise. Rather, God fashioned all things to exist in harmony and wholeness. It is by the envy of the devil that death entered the world. This reflection directs us to recognize that God’s original plan was for life and immortality, not for the corruption brought by sin. It calls us to align our lives with this divine vision, seeking justice and the preservation of life in all its forms.                                                                 

The second reading from 2 Corinthians extends this reflection into the realm of our communal responsibilities. Paul commends the Corinthians for excelling in faith, knowledge, and love, urging them to also excel in generosity. He highlights the example of Jesus Christ, who, though rich, became poor for our sake, so that we might become rich through His poverty. This paradox of divine generosity challenges us to reflect on our own lives. Are we using our abundance to relieve the burdens of others? Paul’s appeal for equality—“your abundance at the present time should supply their needs, so that their abundance may also supply your needs”—reminds us that true Christian living involves a continual exchange of support and generosity, fostering a community where no one is in excess, and no one is in want.

The Gospel reading from St. Mark presents two intertwined miracles that reveal Jesus’ power over sickness and death and emphasize the importance of faith. Jairus, a synagogue official, comes to Jesus in desperate faith, pleading for the life of his dying daughter. On the way to Jairus’s house, a woman suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years seeks healing by touching Jesus’ cloak. Her faith, though seemingly small and hidden, is profound: “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Jesus acknowledges her faith, saying, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”                            

This interaction is interrupted by the news of Jairus’s daughter’s death, but Jesus responds with a powerful call to faith: “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” At Jairus’s house, amidst the commotion and weeping, Jesus takes the girl by the hand and commands, “Talitha koum,” meaning, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl’s resurrection is a profound testament to the life-giving power of Jesus and an invitation to trust in His ability to bring life from death.                                    

Both miracles highlight the transformative power of faith. The woman’s private act of faith and Jairus’s public plea both lead to miraculous healings. Jesus’ response to them shows that He is attentive to all acts of faith, whether hidden or openly expressed. They also teach us that faith in Jesus transcends our fears and doubts, enabling us to experience His saving power.                                                                            

As we contemplate these readings, we are called to renew our commitment to living out our faith in tangible ways. We are invited to trust in Jesus’ power to heal and restore, to be generous with our resources, and to support one another in our journeys. Let us strive to create a community where God’s original plan for life and wholeness is reflected, where our faith in Jesus empowers us to overcome fears and extend His compassion to those in need. May we always remember that in Christ, we are called to rise above the forces of death and despair, embracing the abundant life He offers to all.

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