Scripture Reflection for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
by Brandon Jubar
Reading I: Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24
Reading II: 2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15
GOSPEL: Mark 5:21-43
Fear Is Useless. Do You Know What Jesus Tells Us To Do Instead?
It’s an unfortunate fact that our lives are quite often run by fear. We try hard in school for fear of getting bad grades. We drive the speed limit for fear of getting a ticket. We do what the boss tells us to do at work for fear of losing our jobs. Our society uses fear in an attempt to keep people in line; even resorting to the death penalty as punishment for certain crimes.
All this fear, yet the gospel shows us that fear is useless. What’s truly important is trust. Students who get the best grades trust that the knowledge they gain will allow them to do what they want in life. People drive safely because they trust that the rules of the road will help protect the lives of everyone. Employees follow a good leader because they trust that what they’re being asked to do is best for the company and their careers. And people abide by laws because they trust that others will do the same in order to foster a safe, healthy society.
Jesus Calls Us to Live in Trust
As a motivator, fear does not work. Occasionally it will motivate people in the short term, but it is unsustainable over the long haul. But is there another means besides fear? Can we raise our children effectively without the constant threat of punishment if they misbehave? Is there another way to foster world peace besides military might and the threat of retaliation?
As Christians, we are called to live differently. Jesus calls us to live in trust — to live in faith. And this weekend’s gospel shows clearly how the way of trust can lead to life. The woman who touches Jesus’ clothing in the crowd is not healed by Jesus. Rather, she has such complete trust in his ability that healing power simply flows out of him and into her. It is her trust — her faith — that heals her.
Likewise, Jesus tells the girl’s relatives to trust in him and not fear that it’s too late. He doesn’t say, “Your daughter will truly be dead if you don’t have faith in me!” Instead, Jesus simply says, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” Then, out of death, Jesus calls the little girl to life. In many ways, when we stop being afraid and start trusting in Jesus, he will bring us to new life as well.
Jesus Calls Us to Trust and Share
Each of us should take the time to ponder the question: “How does my own life show my trust in God?” If I am cynical and always assume that the worst will happen, am I exhibiting trust in the Spirit? If I believe in my heart that things will never get better, am I displaying faith in Jesus? Or am I trying to confidently follow God’s will for me, knowing that He will lead me to true happiness and ultimate fulfillment?
In the reading from 2nd Corinthians, Paul suggests that we are rich. But very few of us would classify ourselves as monetarily wealthy, so exactly how are we rich? Well, at the very least, we are spiritually rich through the favor shown us by Jesus Christ — the one who made himself poor “so that by his poverty [we] might become rich.” And at the end of it all, we trust that we will share the riches of his resurrection — eternal life.
Yet even if we don’t consider ourselves monetarily wealthy, most people reading this have been blessed materially in this world. And the abundance we have should convince us to act generously toward others. We should share the wealth we have so that everyone can experience the generosity of God’s creation. And we can be generous in charity because we trust in God and have faith that he will always provide for us.
Fear doesn’t motivate us to love one another, share our wealth, and strive to make the world a better place. We are able to look upon others with the compassion of Jesus, making it possible for them to share in the wealth of God’s goodness, because of trust. Fear is useless.
What do you fear the most and why?
How do you demonstrate trust and faith in Jesus?
What has someone else done that has demonstrated trust and faith in Jesus?
Copyright 2006-2015 by Brandon Jubar
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