Sunday 15 March 2015

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Before we begin a task or make a trip for a holiday, many of us like to plan ahead and make the necessary preparations and arrangements, so that the task could be completed successfully, or we would be able to reach our destination safely and enjoy the holiday without problems. We would scrutinise our options and some of us would go through the details over and over again, with the hope that whatever we have planned would be smooth sailing. Some of us would even come up with contingency plans should our original plan be ridden with sudden surprises or other issues which may crop up along the way. However, life is such that even the best plans we make could sometimes turn out quite differently than what we had expected. We may eventually get what we hope to achieve, or to where we want, but not quite the way we want.

In today's Gospel, we read of how Jesus' plans were diverted by two different individuals who were in need. In the Gospel, Jesus had crossed in the boat to the other side, and He was about to begin preaching, teaching and healing, when He was interrupted by Jairus, the synagogue official, who pleaded with him to see his daughter who was "desperately sick." Before we go further, just imagine you were in Jesus' shoes... How would you have responded, especially with the crowd waiting eagerly and expectantly for you? Some of us may have said: "I am a little tied up with these folks at the moment. Could I come later?" Perhaps some of us may have said: "Just look at this crowd! I can't just leave them here. Maybe next time?" But did Jesus respond to Jairus in any of these ways? No. Instead, Jesus got up without hesitation and followed Jairus to his house.

Then, while Jesus was making his way to Jairus' house, a woman who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years touched His cloak. Jesus was immediately aware that power had gone out from him, turned round in the crowd and said, 'Who touched my clothes?' Of course, anyone could have touched Jesus as the crowd was so big and was pressing round Him, but Jesus continued to look all round to see who had done it. Once again Jesus was distracted from His plan to go to Jairus' house, and was kind and gave encouragement to the woman, when she came forward to admit the truth. Before Jesus could make His way to Jairus' house after sending the woman off in peace, news came from Jairus' house that his daughter had died. Some of us may have thought that it is too late, and we may have said "why put the Master to any further trouble?" But as far as God is concerned, it is never too late. Jesus still went on, reached Jairus' house, raised the girl from the dead and returned her to her family.

What do these stories mean to us? These stories tell us that God always has time for us. God is never too busy to hear and notice the prayers and plea of every single person even when everyone else does not seem to notice, or are not bothered, or are too busy or preoccupied with their own matters. God is not so inflexible that he does not make changes at times in order to help us and guide us.

What about us? Are we able and willing to follow God's example and make ourselves available to others who need our time and our help? Or have we become so individualistic, calculative and selfish with our time, that our needs and wants take precedence over others? God gives life; not causes death. He is our comforter and healer; not the cause of our suffering and pain. May we too be life-giving and bring comfort and healing to others, as we grow in relationship with God and with our fellow pilgrims here on earth.

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