POPE FRANCIS’ REFLECTION 13TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR B
POPE FRANCIS’ REFLECTION 13TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR B
Angelus, 27 June 2021 | Francis
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Buongiorno!
Today in the Gospel (cf. Mk 5:21-43) Jesus encounters our two most dramatic situations, death and disease. He frees two people from them: a little girl, who dies just as her father has gone to ask Jesus’ help; and a woman, who has blood loss for many years. Jesus lets himself be touched by our suffering and our death, and he works two signs of healing to tell us that neither suffering nor death have the last word. He tells us that death is not the end. He defeats this enemy, from which alone we cannot free ourselves.
However, in this period in which illness is still at the centre of the news, we will focus on the other sign, the healing of the woman. More than her health, her affections were compromised. Why? She had blood loss and therefore, according to the mindset of the time, she was deemed impure. She was a marginalized woman; she could not have stable relationships; she could not have a husband; she could not have a family, and could not have normal social relationships, because she was “impure”, an illness that rendered her “impure”. She lived alone, with a wounded heart. What is the greatest illness of life? Tuberculosis? The pandemic? No. The greatest illness of life is a lack of love; it is not being able to love. This poor woman was sick, yes, with blood loss, but as a result, with a lack of love, because she could not be with others socially. And the healing that counts the most is that of affections. But how do we find it? We can think of our affections: are they sick or are they in good health? Are they sick? Jesus is able to heal them.
The story of this nameless woman – let us call her as such, “the nameless woman” –, in whom we can all see ourselves, is exemplary. The text says that she had tried many treatments, “had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse” (v. 26). We too, how often do we throw ourselves into mistaken remedies to sate our lack of love? We think that success and money make us happy, but love cannot be bought; it is free. We hide in the virtual, but love is tangible. We do not accept ourselves as we are and we hide behind external facades, but love is not an appearance. We look for solutions from magicians and from gurus, to then find ourselves without money and without peace, like that woman. Finally, she chooses Jesus and throws herself into the crowd to touch Jesus’ garment. In other words, that woman seeks direct contact, physical contact with Jesus. Especially in this time, we understand how important contact and relationships are. The same counts with Jesus: at times we are content to observe some precepts and to repeat prayers – many times, like parrots –, but the Lord waits for us to encounter him, to open our hearts to him, for us, like the woman, to touch his garment in order to heal. Because, by becoming intimate with Jesus, we are healed in our affections.
Jesus wants this. In fact, we read that, even while pressed by the crowd, He looks around to find who touched Him. The disciples were saying: “But you see the crowd pressing around you…”. No: “Who touched me?”. This is Jesus’ gaze: there are many people, but He goes in search of a face and a heart full of faith. Jesus does not look at the whole, like we do, but he looks at the individual. He does not stop at the wounds and mistakes of the past, but goes beyond sins and prejudices. We all have a history, and each of us, in our secret, knows well the ugly matters of our history. But Jesus looks at it in order to heal it. We, instead, like to look at the ugly matters of others. How often when we speak, do we fall into chattering, which is speaking ill of others, “flaying” others. But look: what horizon of life is this? Not like Jesus, who always looks at how to save us; he looks at today; good will is not the ugly history that we have. Jesus goes beyond sins. Jesus goes beyond prejudices. Jesus does not stop at appearances, but reaches the heart. And He heals precisely her, who had been rejected by everyone, an impure woman. He tenderly calls her “daughter” (v. 34) – Jesus’ style was closeness, compassion and tenderness: “Daughter…” – and he praises her faith, restoring her self-confidence.
Sister, brother, you are here, let Jesus look at and heal your heart. I too have to do this: let Jesus look at my heart and heal it. And if you have already felt His tender gaze upon you, imitate Him, and do as He does. Look around: you will see that many people who live beside you feel wounded and alone; they need to feel loved: take the step. Jesus asks you for a gaze that does not stop at the outward appearance, but that goes to the heart: a gaze not judgmental, but welcoming – let us stop judging others – Jesus asks us for a non- judgmental gaze. Because love alone heals life. May Our Lady, Consoler of the suffering, help us to bring a caress to those with wounded hearts whom we meet on our journey. And do not judge; do not judge the personal, social reality of others. God loves everyone! Do not judge; let others live and try to approach them with love.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters! Today, in proximity to the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, I ask you to pray for the Pope. Pray in a special way: the Pope needs your prayers! Thank you. I know you will do so.
On the occasion of today’s Day of prayer for peace in the Middle East, I invite everyone to implore God’s mercy and peace in that region. May the Lord support the efforts of those who strive for dialogue and fraternal coexistence in the Middle East, where the Christian faith was born and is alive, despite the suffering. To those dear populations may God always grant peace, perseverance and courage.
I assure my closeness to the populations of South-west of the Czech Republic struck by a strong hurricane. I pray for the departed and the injured and for those who have had to leave their seriously damaged homes.
I address a cordial welcome to all of you, coming from Rome, from Italy and from other countries. I see Poles, Spanish people…. So many are there and there…. May the visit to the Tombs of Saints Peter and Paul strengthen in you love for Christ and for the Church.
I wish everyone a happy Sunday. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch. Arrivederci! Well done, youth of the Immaculate!Copyright © Dicastero per la Comunicazione – Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Saint Peter’s Square
Sunday, 28 June 2015
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
Today’s Gospel presents the account of the resurrection of a young, 12-year-old girl, the daughter of a one of the leaders of the synagogue, who falls at Jesus’ feet and beseeches him: “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” (Mk 5:23). In this prayer we hear the concern of every father for the life and well-being of his child. We also hear the great faith which that man has in Jesus. And when news arrives that the little girl is dead, Jesus tells him: “Do not fear, only believe” (v. 36). These words from Jesus give us courage! And He frequently also says them to us: “Do not fear, only believe”. Entering the house, the Lord sends away all those who are weeping and wailing and turns to the dead girl, saying: “Little girl, I say to you, arise” (v. 41). And immediately the little girl rose and began to walk. Here we see Jesus’ absolute power over death, which for Him is like a dream from which one can awaken.
The Evangelist inserts another episode in this account: the healing of a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. Because of this ailment, which, according to the culture of the time, rendered her “impure”, she was forced to avoid all human contact. The poor woman was condemned to a civic death. In the midst of a the crowd following Jesus, this unknown woman says to herself: “If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well” (v. 28). And thus it happened. The need to be freed urges her to dare and her faith “snatches”, so to speak, healing from the Lord. She who believes “touches” Jesus and draws from Him a saving grace. This is faith: to touch Jesus is to draw from Him the grace that saves. It saves us, it saves our spiritual life, it saves us from so many problems. Jesus notices and, in the midst of the people, looks for the woman’s face. She steps forward trembling and He says to her: “Daughter, your faith has made you well” (v. 34). It is the voice of the heavenly Father who speaks in Jesus: “Daughter, you are not cursed, you are not excluded, you are my child!”. And every time Jesus approaches us, when we go forth from Him with faith, we feel this from the Father: “Child, you are my son, you are my daughter! You are healed. I forgive everyone for everything. I heal all people and all things.
These two episodes — a healing and a resurrection — share one core: faith. The message is clear, and it can be summed up in one question: do we believe that Jesus can heal us and can raise us from the dead? The entire Gospel is written in the light of this faith: Jesus is risen, He has conquered death, and by his victory we too will rise again. This faith, which for the first Christians was sure, can tarnish and become uncertain, to the point that some may confuse resurrection with reincarnation. The Word of God this Sunday invites us to live in the certainty of the Resurrection: Jesus is the Lord, Jesus has power over evil and over death, and He wants to lead us to house of the Father, where life reigns. And there we will all meet again, all of us here in this square today, we will meet again in the house of the Father, in the life that Jesus will give us.
The Resurrection of Christ acts in history as the principle of renewal and hope. Anyone who is desperate and tired to death, if he entrusts himself to Jesus and to his love, can begin to live again. And to begin a new life, to change life is a way of rising again, of resurrecting. Faith is a force of life, it gives fullness to our humanity; and those who believe in Christ must acknowledge this in order to promote life in every situation, in order to let everyone, especially the weakest, experience the love of God who frees and saves.
Let us ask the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, for the gift of a strong and courageous faith, that might urge us to be diffusers of hope and life among our brothers and sisters.
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