SUNDAY’S READINGS | June 27, 2021

Track 1: 2 Sam. 1:1, 17-27 • Ps. 130 • 2 Cor. 8:7-15 • Mark 5:21-43

Track 2: Wis. 1:13-15; 2:23-34 •  Lam. 3:21-33 or Ps. 30 • 2 Cor. 8:7-15 • Mark 5:21-43

When we tell a story about something in the past of special significance or meaning, we often describe it in the present tense. In this way, we pull a story into the present and make it feel like it is happening now. For instance, “I’m picking out my wedding dress.” “We’re driving to the south rim of the Grand Canyon.” “Sitting in the waiting room, I see the doctor walk in.”

In a sense, this is how we approach all Scripture, reading so that the efficacy, force, and virtue of a past event leap into the present. And this most certainly is the key to the liturgy, which is never a mere recollection of the past, but the past touching the present in manifold and powerful ways. Everything God did, he does.

The story of the healing of the woman with an issue of blood and the story of the raising of Jairus’s daughter are told with a generous dose of “present participles” and verbs in the “present tense.” This gives the story immediacy and urgency and thrusts it with great force into the present so that we hear it as our story.

We begin with the woman who was suffering from hemorrhages for 12 years. She endures much under many physicians, spends all the money she has, gets no better, but instead grows worse. Then, hearing about Jesus as he passes by, she pushes her way into the crowd. If we imagine the crowd gathered around Jesus as a symbol of the Church, we may see her coming into the holy community whose head is Christ. Like Moses, who saw the back of God, but not his face, the woman approaches Jesus from behind, believing that if she touches his garment, she will be healed. Then the miracle: (1) healing, (2) shared knowledge/communion with Christ, (3) the glory of the searching face of Christ.

When we say that Jesus healed a sick woman, we recall that Jesus has healed and is healing all of us even if, like the risen Lord, we still have wounds in our flesh. Healing is a mystery. Even as we are still suffering in some ways, we know that we have pressed our way into the Church, we have drawn close to Christ, we have touched his garment, and we have known in our bodies that he has touched our lives. It is not merely that we “feel” something. We feel and know. The woman “knew in her body.” And there is another kind of knowledge. “Jesus immediately having known within himself that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd” (Mark 5:30; literal translation). Jesus and the woman know each other, and that knowledge reaches even the body. Jesus then searches for her, she comes to him and confesses. She is looking at Jesus, and Jesus is looking at her, and she beholds the glory of his face.

Healing is a sign of resurrection.

We move from sign to reality in the raising of Jairus’s little daughter. Jairus reports that she is “at the end,” near death. Like the woman with the issue of blood, all earthly hope has been exhausted. Jesus follows Jairus but is interrupted by the woman. When Jesus finally arrives at Jairus’s home, the child is dead. Reading or hearing this story, one is struck by the words “at the end” and “your daughter is dead.” On the purely natural level, these words are trustworthy and final. All we go down to the dust.

The resurrection of the little girl happens within the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is the life of the world.

Look It Up: John 14:19

Think About It: Because I live, you also will live.