June 29, 2009

To the Other Side

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 5:21-43 “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured.”

A text joke: Nanay: Anak, bumili ka ng tinapay sa tindahan.
Pedro: Nanay, gabi na po, natatakot po akong lumabas.
Anak, huwag kang matakot, lagi mong kasama si Hesus.
Pedro: Inay, si Hesus na lang kaya ang utusan ninyo.

Jesus loves crossing the Lake of Galilee. This is the fastest way to travel between two towns separated by this body of water. But crossing this lake is dangerous because it is notoriously known for its sudden storms. You need a lot of courage to cross this lake especially in the evening.

Encarta defines courage as the ability of a person to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear. In other words, fear is not an alien thing to courageous people. They just don’t allow fear to stop them from “crossing to the other side.” The four gospels tell us that even Jesus experienced fear (Mt.26:39, Luke 22:44). But it is crystal clear that his faith to the Father gave him courage to say, “Let’s cross to the other side.” (Mk 4:35).

Our gospel today introduces another two courageous souls to emulate: Jairus and the woman with haemorrhages. Both of them have mustered enough courage to “cross to the other side” and seek Jesus’ healing. Their faith in Jesus gave them strength to overcome their fear and approached Jesus. They were rewarded. Jesus gave them what they want … healing!

The decision of Jairus to kneel and beg Jesus to heal his dying daughter was a brave move. As a synagogue officer, to invite Jesus in his house and be identified with Jesus was a blow to his social status, knowing that Jesus was already unpopular to the scribes and Pharisees. For Jairus, the life of his daughter was much more important than his career, social status, and pride.

Like Jairus, the woman who was bleeding for twelve years was also desperate to find a cure to her malady. Aside from being physically sick, her bleeding isolated her from her family, community and God. When one has a haemorrhage, she is considered unclean and is barred from entering the temple. Anybody who touches her becomes unclean too until after a performing a very tedious purification rituals recommended by the Pharisees.

The woman knew that she will be expelled from the crowd and publicly humiliated if somebody recognizes her. But she mustered enough courage to “cross to the other side.” She made a brave move when she said, “If I can touch his cloak, I will be healed.” She did and she was instantly healed. When Jesus felt her touch, he said, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be healed of your trouble.” (Mark 5:34)

Driven by their great faith in Jesus and their courage “to cross to the other side,” the two brave souls got their wish – a new lease of life!

Today’s gospel invites us to reflect on how Jesus could heal us. Sometimes we don’t have the courage to “cross to other side” (to forgive a friend, to do things the right way, to correct a mistake, to stop delaying things and firmly decide for the good of the family) and come to Jesus for healing and new lease of life. Take heart! Trust God. He is our real provider, healer and giver of life. God is assuring us today, “Do not be afraid; just have faith. Let’s cross to the other side.” Transcend your fear now, come to Jesus. Whisper your prayer. Believe and you will never be disappointed.

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." - Ambrose Redmoon

- Fr. Willy M. Samson,SJ
Ateneo de Zamboanga Chapel
June 28, 2009

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