In the Crowd
(13th Ordinary Sunday: Wisdom 1:13-15 & 2:23-24; 2 Cor 8:7-15; Mark 5:21-43)
Imagine yourself in the crowd following Jesus in today’s Gospel. Do you press in as close as possible to the famous man? Or do you say, “I’m out of here!” and go to the fringe of the crowd, where you can watch from a comfortable distance?
It all depends on how you feel in large groups, being jostled about, with people brushing against you, as in the scene Mark describes. But wait! As followers of the Lord, should we not be open to the possibility that someone in the crowd needs something from us?
Avoidance is not the mark of Jesus’ disciples. On the contrary, we are called to be attentive to the needs of those around us and to respond as we are able. Sometimes we may be inclined to pass judgment on those in need; that is only an attempt to justify our unchristian behavior.
We find the best example in Jesus, of course. But the Beautiful Lady of La Salette tells us herself that we will never be able to repay her efforts on our behalf as she deserves. And now, she comes, hoping to preserve her people. Her message may be summed up with the words of Jesus to Jairus: “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
If we live by that saying, we may well hear the voice of Jesus saying to us as to the woman who touched him, “Your faith has saved you” and, as to the daughter of Jairus, “I say to you, arise!”
Perhaps it is that experience that makes the Sacrament of Reconciliation so important at La Salette Shrines. When we approach Jesus in the person of the priest, like the woman in the Gospel who “told him the whole truth,” we believe that power goes out from him, healing us and helping us to go in peace.
This experience also can form us, so that we may be prepared and willing to be touched by those in need of reconciliation, healing, conversion and comfort. Thus we participate in “the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,” of which St. Paul writes in the second reading.
What a beautiful way to imitate Christ and our Blessed Mother! Let us go into our world, with today’s Psalm response in our hearts, “I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.” Amen! Amen! Amen!
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.