The Power of Humility

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

1. Media has been storming us with ways to live and with things to acquire. Among the many things that media bombard us with are the following:

a) We should work hard, have more money, gather more properties, so that we will be happy now and plan to retire. So, we should work for 12 to 16 hours a day so that we can retire and fill our house with things. And when the house is full we put what we think are unimportant things in the garage and park our car outside.

b) We should always look physically attractive and find ways to extend our life. So, we should get all kinds of beauty and anti-aging products, so as not to miss any good one, (to add a year to our life?).

c) We should expose our accomplishments and project our status in the community, so that everyone will know us, respect us and give credit to us. So, we tell everybody what we have and what we have done (till their ears bleed).

2. The two stories in the Gospel today tell us that we have to recognize our need for help, that we need to accept the power of God over life, and that we have to recognize the power of the Holy Spirit working in us.

Jairus was a synagogue leader. His position could make him proud, and for his companions, seeking the help of a carpenter’s son would be a shameful situation. But at this point, he recognized his need for help from someone greater than he was. He was not aloof or skeptical, unlike the Pharisees, but humbly fell at the feet of Jesus and pleaded: “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live” (Mk 5:21ff). His faith gave him hope and brought back the life of his daughter.

The woman with hemorrhage was not getting any better, and spent all her savings. She was not influential. Her long suffering could bring despair. But at this point, with shame because she was unclean and afraid of the people who could drive her away, she made her crucial wish: “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured” (cf. Mk 5:21ff). So it happened.

Their humility made Jesus turn around and heed their plea. Despite the seeming hopeless situation, Jesus strengthened them in their weakness and enlightened them in their darkness. Here we see the powerlessness of men and the power of faith.

They also showed their courage, not because they had something to show off, but only because with their prayer and faith, they could face their fears and deal with their situation. With their willingness to take Jesus into their lives and with their courage to face their fears did they realize the great power of faith that could bring back to them health and life.

3. Like the Disciples, many times we are indifferent to what’s happening around us. We also say: “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?” (cf. Mk 5:25ff). We think we are getting close to Jesus, while all the time in our words and actions we drive people away from Christ and the Church. But just like Jairus and the woman, we can also approach Jesus through the following:

a) The sacraments. When we kneel before the priest at the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we allow God’s mercy to flow into our hearts. When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist we fill ourselves with God’s life. When the priest anoints the sick, he brings down the healing power of God. The Sacrament of Confirmation allows the Holy Spirit to come with all His gifts. At baptism we accept a person into the Church. In Matrimony, man and woman confirm their love in the Blessed Trinity. In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the Church ordains priests as ministers of the blessings God has for His people.

b) Our relationships. When we are obedient to one another because of our love for God, we bring in the unity of the Blessed Trinity, as well as the love of our Mother Mary, to shine not only in our families, but also in the whole world.

c) Our service to the poor. At the end of time, everyone will face God, and will hear the words: “whatever you did to the least of my brothers you did to Me; whatever you did not do to the least of My brothers you did not do to Me.”

d) Our prayers. In prayer we get in touch with our God and with ourselves. In prayer we allow the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to work in us, so that we can exercise our capacities in the wisdom of God.

May the healing power of God remain with you always.

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