1 February, Tuesday – Salvation is Offered to All

Tuesday of Week 4 in Ordinary Time

2 Sam 18:9-10,14,24-25,30-19:3

Mk 5:21-43

My daughter, your faith has restored you to health; go in peace and be free from your complaint.

Continuing with the salvation story from yesterday’s gospel concerning the demoniac, Jesus continues with his healing touches in the two ladies he encountered today — Jairus’ daughter, and the woman suffering from haemorrhage. The gospel stories over these two days have something in common — the demoniac, Jairus and the unnamed woman all fall at Jesus’ feet. All of them recognized his authority and power and appealed to him in desperation.

Whereas the healing of Jairus’ daughter was premeditated, the unintended healing of the unnamed woman was fortuitous. While Jairus enjoyed a high social standing — wealth by virtue of his leadership position in the synagogue, and perhaps a privileged background — the woman had no social status and had probably been excluded from the community for a long time, since she had been suffering the blood condition for over 12 years. Yet, it was the unnamed woman who was healed first, who skipped the queue even before Jesus attended to Jairus’ daughter. Instead of rebuking her, our Lord even addressed her as ‘daughter’ affectionately. In the midst of the miraculous healing, the synagogue’s officials came and reported the death of Jairus’ daughter, which must have been traumatic for Jairus as Jesus’ call to attend to his daughter was delayed by the unnamed woman’s touch, to be followed by the harrowing news of her death.

The gospel story today emphasizes not just on healing, but rather that the salvation afforded by our Lord is infinite and not in competition. The healing of the unnamed woman doesn’t negate any possibility of saving Jairus’ daughter; the salvation given by our Lord is limitless and offered to all, regardless of their wealth, social standing and even the way it was being requested. Jairus had formally sought out Jesus to attend to his daughter, whereas the unnamed woman barged through the crowds and got hold of Jesus unwittingly. In fact, the salvation of the unnamed woman came before Jairus’ daughter, which again reinforces the other accounts in the bible, where the poor and destitute were prioritized over the rich and powerful, just like in the story of Lazarus and the rich man.

During our earthly journey, we are bound to experience periods of despair and desperation. Many of us would seek the help of our Lord through prayers of supplication and intercession from our fellow brothers, sisters and saints. Yet, the process of acquiring the healing or salvation is never smooth-sailing nor straight forward, just like in Jairus’s case. Interruptions and obstacles abound, which will put our faith to the test. Imagine if Jairus were to give up when the officials came and reported the news of his daughter’s death, or if numerous incidents of the unnamed woman occurred along the journey which waylaid Jesus’ trip to his household, and resulted in him abandoning all hope; the healing would not have occurred. The key message today is to keep on believing and praying even when circumstances don’t appear to be rosy in the short term. We can never predict how and when our God acts; all things happen in His time and according to His will. Despite all the interruptions and disruptions in our lives, we can only trust that whatever the outcome, it is only because God has allowed or willed it.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Dylan Tan)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help our faith to grow as we are reminded about your faithfulness that never fails. Help our faith to grow as we look to the cross and see Jesus breaking the chains of sin and death. Help our faith to grow as we look to the empty tomb and see Jesus rising triumphantly from the grave. All things are possible in your name. Help us to entrust our lives with you in every moment of our earthly journey. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Thanksgiving: Loving Father, thank you for your faithfulness throughout the generations. By faith, let us see your mighty hand in creation and in the lives of your people throughout history. Thank you for the gift of faith in your promises that enables us to fix our eyes on you as we run the race of life.

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