Cycle B 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 Wis. 1:13-15, 2:23-24; 2 Cor. 8:7, 9, 13-15; Mk. 5:21-43

Today’s Gospel passage gives two examples of unwavering faith. A faith that remains steadfast in the face of adversity, challenges, and uncertainties. Our guiding scripture for this exploration is from the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 5, verses 21-34, a narrative that intertwines the desperate pleas of a synagogue leader named Jairus and the quiet, determined faith of a woman suffering from a chronic illness. These stories, rich with lessons, beckon us to reflect on the nature of our own faith.

"When Jesus had crossed in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the synagogue leaders named Jairus came and, when he saw Jesus, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, 'My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.' So Jesus went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him.

Imagine Jairus, a man of status and respect in the community, reduced to falling at the feet of Jesus, begging for the life of his daughter. His plea is a powerful testament to a father’s love and desperation. But more importantly, it illustrates a faith that does not hesitate to humble itself before God. Jairus believed that Jesus had the power to heal his daughter, and in that belief, he put aside his pride, his position, and his dignity.

As Jesus walks with Jairus, we encounter another remarkable figure. “Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, 'If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.' Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.”

Here is a woman, nameless in the scriptures, yet her story speaks volumes. She had suffered for twelve long years, tried every possible remedy, spent all her money, and instead of getting better, her condition worsened. But what is striking is her unwavering faith. She believed that a mere touch of Jesus’ clothes would heal her. In her quiet desperation, she didn’t demand Jesus’ attention, she didn’t ask for a grand gesture, she simply reached out in faith.

Sometimes, faith is about the small, seemingly insignificant acts. The woman’s touch, almost unnoticed in the crowd, was an act of faith that moved mountains. This reminds us of Jesus’ words in Matthew 17:20, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Consider the story of George Müller, a Christian evangelist and the director of the Ashley Down orphanage in England. Müller is remembered for his unwavering faith in God’s provision. He famously ran his orphanages on faith alone, never soliciting funds, relying entirely on God’s provision through unsolicited donations. One morning, with no food to feed the children, Müller led them in prayer, thanking God for the food He was going to provide. Miraculously, a baker knocked on the door with enough bread to feed everyone, and shortly after, a milkman whose cart had broken down outside offered his milk to the orphanage. Müller’s faith, like the woman’s touch, was simple yet profound.


Returning to our scripture, as Jesus and Jairus are on their way, Jesus pauses to address the woman who touched him. This delay must have been agonizing for Jairus, who was desperate for Jesus to reach his dying daughter. Yet, in this pause, Jesus teaches us an important lesson about faith and God’s timing.

Often, our faith is tested in the waiting. We may have a timeline in mind, but God’s timing is perfect. Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Jairus’ faith had to endure the delay, and in that waiting, it was strengthened.

Finally, when Jesus arrives at Jairus’ house, he is met with the news that the child has died. But Jesus, undeterred, says, “Do not fear, only believe.” He then raises the child from the dead, demonstrating that unwavering faith, even in the face of death, can bring forth life.

This narrative of Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood is a powerful reminder of the miracles that can happen when we place our unwavering faith in Jesus. Their stories show us that faith is not passive; it is active and persistent. It is the belief that compels a father to fall at the feet of Jesus and a suffering woman to push through a crowd.

One well-known story that illustrates the profound faith of a mother is that of Saint Monica, the mother of Saint Augustine of Hippo. Her story is a powerful testament to the enduring and transformative power of a mother's faith and prayer.

Saint Monica was born in 331 AD in Tagaste, which is present-day Algeria. She was married to a Roman pagan named Patricius, who had a violent temper and was frequently unfaithful. Despite these challenges, Monica remained steadfast in her faith and her commitment to her family. Her persistent prayers and unwavering faith played a crucial role in the spiritual transformation of her husband, who converted to Christianity shortly before his death.

Monica's greatest challenge, however, came from her son, Augustine. Augustine was highly intelligent and well-educated, but he led a hedonistic lifestyle that included excessive drinking, gambling, and numerous affairs. He also became involved with the Manichaean religion, which was considered heretical by the Christian Church.

Monica was deeply grieved by Augustine's waywardness and spent many years praying fervently for his conversion. She followed him wherever he went, from Carthage to Rome to Milan, always hoping and praying that he would turn to God. Her faith and persistence never wavered, despite the long years of waiting and the seeming hopelessness of the situation.

In our daily lives, we are often faced with situations that test our faith. It could be a health crisis, financial difficulties, or relationship problems. Like Jairus and the woman, we may feel desperate and overwhelmed. But their stories encourage us to bring our burdens to Jesus, to reach out in faith, believing that He has the power to heal, to restore, and to bring life out of death.

A humorous anecdote to illustrate this comes from the story of a man who was caught in a flood. As the waters rose, he climbed onto his roof and prayed for God to save him. Soon, a neighbor came by in a canoe and offered to rescue him. The man declined, saying, “God will save me.” Then, a police boat came by, but again, the man refused help, insisting that God would save him. Finally, a helicopter flew by, but he waved it away, trusting that God would deliver him. Unfortunately, the floodwaters rose, and the man drowned. When he got to heaven, he asked God, “Why didn’t you save me?” God replied, “I sent you a canoe, a boat, and a helicopter!”

This story, while humorous, underscores the importance of recognizing God’s help in various forms and having the faith to accept it. Sometimes, God’s provision comes through unexpected means, and our unwavering faith includes being open to those moments.

It’s also crucial to note the role of community in nurturing our faith. The woman with the issue of blood had to navigate through a crowd to reach Jesus. Jairus, despite his social status, did not hesitate to seek out Jesus publicly. Our faith journey is often supported and strengthened by those around us. Hebrews 10:24-25 reminds us, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

As we reflect on these stories from the Gospel of Mark, let us be inspired by the unwavering faith of Jairus and the woman who touched Jesus’ cloak. Their stories teach us that faith involves humility, persistence, and sometimes, waiting. It shows us that even the smallest acts of faith can lead to great miracles.

In our own lives, let us strive to cultivate a faith that remains steadfast amidst trials, a faith that reaches out to Jesus with confidence, and a faith that is open to the ways God chooses to work in and through us. Let us remember that with faith as small as a mustard seed, we can move mountains, for nothing is impossible with God.

May our faith be unwavering, our hearts steadfast, and our lives a testimony to the transformative power of trusting in Jesus.