Homily – Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Last weekend, we heard and experienced the story of Jesus calming the storm and reassuring his closest disciples with his presence.  This weekend, we come to know more about Jesus and his miracles; but this time, the witnesses of these miracles are not his closest friends.  The miracles are witnessed and experienced by two strangers: one is a woman physically suffering for twelve years from a long and painful treatment (haemorrhage), and the community leader who emotionally suffers due to his daughter illness.  Two different people with two very different sorts of suffering, seeking out assistance and finally finding comfort in Jesus’ words and actions.

The happy ending in today’s Gospel for both situations invites us to reflect on what is going on with our lives; is everything going alright with ourselves, do we need God’s help and why hope is so important for us and for the world?  Let us take a closer look at the two events that happened in today’s readings and why there are happy endings with such events.

The first person is the woman suffering from a haemorrhage for twelve years  She comes to Jesus as a last resort because after having tried all sort of treatments she is not healed.  I’m sure many of us are like this woman.  We seek the help of Jesus when we reach breaking point or when we can no longer fight the good fight.  And even if it is only then that we turn to Jesus, he will never send us away empty.  This is what happens to this woman.  She trusts that Jesus can heal her.  But she also realises that she must do more than just trust Him.  She must go a step farther.  She must do her part.  She must not sit at home or lie down on her bed to wait for Jesus to come to her.  She must get up, go to Jesus and present herself to Him for healing.

Just like what some of us are doing.  We can light a candle on our own altar at home so why go to church and light a candle here?  We can pray everywhere even in our own home so why do we go to Church and pray and worship together as a community?  We do it to show that we are not only trusting God but we are doing our part to show our true freedom and then present our needs and petitions to Him.

It is also the same with the second person in today’s Gospel.  Jairus trusts that Jesus can heal his sick daughter.  But Jairus also realises that he must do more than trust Jesus especially about himself.  He is a ruler of the synagogue and so he is a person of some considerable importance.  The ruler is the administrative head of the synagogue.  He is the president of the Board of Elders responsible for the good management of the synagogue.  He is responsible for the conduct of the services.  He is one of the most important and most respected men in the community; but when his daughter gets ill, he forgets his position and thinks of Jesus and the wellbeing of his daughter.

He forgets his dignity as the president of the synagogue and throws himself at the feet of Jesus.  He forgets his pride, humbles himself, and comes to Jesus to ask for help.

These two people show us the significant steps they were willing to take in order to encounter Jesus in their lives, and also shows us the importance of their willingness in inviting God into their lives.  So this weekend, let us reflect on these words coming from St. Ignatius of Loyola who described our cooperation with God in this way: “We must work as if everything depends on us, but we must pray as if everything depends on God.”

Fr Trac Nguyen




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