Thirteenth Ordinary Sunday
God helps us if we help ourselves
Points to note
The reading is part of a much longer reading, long enough as it is. In the longer version, Jesus had a detour: he met the woman with a haemorrhage, who believed that if she could just touch the hem of his cloak, she will be well again. The point here is the same: trust in Jesus and you will be healed. As such, I have opted for the shorter version, which has the same point in it.
Acclamation before the Gospel
Our Saviour Christ Jesus banished death,
and he has proclaimed life through the Good News.
In last Sunday’s reading, we saw how the disciples depended on Jesus for help when they were frightened.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Mark
(Mk 5: 21-43)
When Jesus had crossed in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered round him and he stayed by the lakeside. Then one of the synagogue officials came up, Jairus by name, and seeing him, fell at his feet, and pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is desperately sick. Do come and lay your hands on her to make her better and save her life.” Jesus went with him and a large crowd followed him.
While he was still speaking some people arrived from the house of the synagogue official to say,” Your daughter is dead: why put the Master to any further trouble? But Jesus had overhead this remark of theirs and he said to the official, “Do not be afraid; only have faith.” And he allowed no one to go with him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. So they came to the official’s house and Jesus noticed all the commotion, with people weeping and wailing unrestrainedly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and crying? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. So he turned them all out and, taking with him the child’s father and mother and his own companions, we went into the place where the child lay. And taking the child by the hand he said to her, “Talitha, kum!” which means ‘Little girl, I tell you to get up.’ The little girl got up at once and began to walk about for she was twelve years old. At this they were overcome with astonishment, and he ordered them strictly not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat.
This is the Gospel of the Lord
Have you ever asked anyone for help before? Get the children to talk about specific situations and what happened during these situations. Focus on the people who helped them and how those people did it.
Sometimes, when people help you, there are conditions: you must do something for them to help you. For example, Daddy is not going to help you with your homework if you are not going to do any of it. Mommy will lift the computer ban if you promise not be naughty again. Do you have any other examples? If possible, lead the children to the examples of helping that they mentioned just now.
Are there any examples where you are helping someone and they do not say thank you or show appreciation even as you do it (imagine if you are helping someone with drawing a picture and they keep telling you are doing a lousy job); or where the person you are helping is not helping themselves (imagine you offer to help someone with carrying things and they leave it all to you to do all the carrying while they relax), would you like it? Let’s hope the children are not such nasty brats themselves!! Take care though that this does not become a gripe session.
The idea here is to get the children to understand that it is common for us to do something so that others would help us. It is not that the person helping us is not sincere; or that the person helping us is taking advantage of us; or that they do not love us. This is just good manners as part of being good people and it also helps us learn to do the things that we currently need help to do.
It is very much the same with God: He expects us to do certain things when he helps us. What do you think they are? He expects us to help ourselves; he expects us to say thank you and he expects us to have faith in him that he could help us. Link the last part back to the reading: the father of Jairus had faith in Jesus unlike those who laughed at him. Despite this, Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter because Jairus believed that Jesus will really help him.