Today’s Gospel presents the story of the resurrection of a twelve-year-old daughter of one of the heads of the synagogue, who fell at the feet of Jesus and begged him: “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” (Mark 5:23). In this prayer, we feel the concern of every father for the life and for the sake of his children. But we also feel the great faith that this man has in Jesus. And when the news that the girl is dead, Jesus says, “Do not be afraid; just have faith” (v. 36). He entered the house, the Lord sent away all the people crying and crying, and turns to the dead child and said, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” (v. 41). And immediately the girl got up and began walking. Here, we see the absolute power of Jesus over physical death, that, for Him, it is like a sleep from which one can awaken.
Within this narrative, the Evangelist puts another episode: the healing of a woman who for twelve years was suffering from hemorrhages. This disease, according to the culture of the time, made her “unclean,” she had to avoid all human contact or she would be condemned to civil death. This anonymous woman in the crowd following Jesus, says to herself, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” (v. 28). And so it happens: the need to be liberated, along with her ‘ripping’ faith, so to speak, drives her to the Lord for healing. Who believes, “touches” Jesus and draws from Him the grace that saves. Faith is this, to touch him and expect to draw from Him his saving grace. It saves us in the spiritual life. It saves us many problems! Jesus notices her and, in the midst of people, seeks the face of the woman. She comes forward trembling and He says, “Daughter, your faith has saved you” (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 daughter!” Every time when Jesus approaches us, when we go to Him, we hear this from the Father: ‘Son. You are my son, you are my daughter, you’re healed, you’re healed. I heal all, everyone and everything.”
These two episodes – a healing and resurrection – have a single center: the faith. The message is clear and can be summed up in one question: Do we believe that Jesus can heal us and can awaken us from the dead? The whole Gospel is written in the light of faith: Jesus is risen, He has conquered death, and because of this victory, we will be resurrected. This faith, who for the first Christians was secure, could tarnish and become uncertain, to the point that some confuse resurrection with reincarnation. The Gospel this Sunday invites us to live in the certainty of the resurrection: Jesus is Lord, has power over evil and death, and wants to take us into the Father’s home, where life reigns.
The Resurrection of Christ acts in history as the beginning of renewal and hope. Anyone who is desperate and tired until death, if he relies on Jesus, his love can start living again. Faith is a force of life, gives fullness to our humanity; and those who believe in Christ, must recognize that because it promotes life in every situation, to be lived by all, especially the weakest, the love of God that frees and saves. We ask the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, for the gift of a strong faith and courage that pushes us to spread hope and life among our brothers.
After the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters, I greet you all, Romans and pilgrims! I greet in particular the marchers ‘Una Terra, Una Famiglia Umana,’ (“A land, a Human Family.”) I encourage the collaboration between people of different religions and associations for the promotion of an integral ecology. Thank you FOCSIV, OurVoices and other organizers, and I wish you good work for young people of different countries who in these days are confronted with the care of the common home.
I cordially salute a group of Bolivian residents in Italy that have brought here some of the images of the Virgin of Urkupina, the Virgin of Copacabana, among others. Our Heavenly Mother protects us. I also send greetings to the youth group of Ibiza who are preparing to receive the confirmation. If they pray, pray for me .
I salute the Guides, they are really great these scouts, really great, and do a lot of good, the women Scouts, who belong to the International Catholic Conference and renew to them my encouragement. Thank you!
I greet the faithful of Novoli, the polyphonic choral of Augusta, the boys of some parishes in the diocese of Padua who received their Confirmation; the “Grandparents of Sydney,” an association of elderly immigrants in Australia have come here with their grandchildren; the children of Chernobyl and the families of Este and Ospedaletto hosting them; cyclists and motorcyclists from Cardito and lovers of vintage cars.
I wish you all a good Sunday and a good lunch. Please do not forget to pray for me. see you soon!