By: Father Boby John, C.S.C. on January 31st, 2023
Do Not Be Afraid; Just Believe - Family Reflection Video
None of us likes being laughed at. It hurts our pride. So, we are usually careful not to take risks which could cause others to laugh at us. When it comes to our faith, we are especially careful not to risk ridicule. But today we see Jesus and two other people who dare to risk ridicule with regard to their faith.
Let's consider some points for our reflection today.
- Firstly, the faith of Jairus and the unnamed woman contrasts with the crowd’s lack of faith. Jairus asks Jesus to lay His hands and heal his daughter. The woman just wants to touch Jesus’ clothing. In both cases, physical contact with Jesus accompanied by faith effected a cure. The focus is not on the cure, but on their faith.
- Secondly, with a crowd surrounding Jesus, much like a crowded line at an amusement park or airport, Jesus asks, “Who has touched my clothes?” The answer is impossible, except for Jesus, who is “aware … that power had gone out from him”. The disciples do not even understand why He asks such a question. Thus, the “unlikely but strong faith” of a woman is set alongside the “likely but not strong” faith of the disciples.
- Third, the story of Jairus becomes even more complicated with the reported death of his daughter. He came seeking a cure; but, now, he must seek her life. “Don’t be afraid; just believe,” Jesus tells him. Thus, the faith of Jairus is contrasted with the lack of faith of the people of his household, who were weeping and wailing loudly and ridiculing Jesus.
The woman had spent all the financial resources she had. She was ritually unclean, an outcast in society. She had nowhere to go. Then she overcame all fears; she risked punishment and ridicule for touching the cloak of the rabbi. In such a moment, she showed a faith she never thought she had.
Similarly, Jairus is up against the wall. No doctor could save his little daughter. And when the news came that she had died, his faith was tested to breaking. But he trusted. He also discovered that he had a spiritual strength he never thought he had.
I often ask myself: Why does God not grant my prayers or the prayers of a person in utter need? God sometimes allows us to reach a boundary situation, a point of utter helplessness first, to draw out a hidden strength we did not know we had. We have to get to the realization that our resources cannot bring us further, but faith is still a resource that brings us directly into the saving hand of God.
Do we lack faith to believe, or are we afraid of ridicule? Jesus went about the work His father had given Him unconcerned about what people thought or what they would do to Him.
Acknowledgement: "365 Days with Lord", an online resource for biblical reflections.
- Father Boby's inspirational homily was recorded live this morning during Mass at the Father Peyton Center. Please view the video on our Facebook page. (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
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About Father Boby John, C.S.C.
Father Boby John, C.S.C., ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 2008, worked as a pastor and as an educator with tribal populations in Northeast India for thirteen years. Originally from Kerala, India, Father Boby grew up with three siblings. He is a dedicated and detailed educationist with experience in educational leadership. He is currently working as an executive assistant at the world headquarters of Holy Cross Family Ministries, North Easton, Massachusetts.