13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)


Key Points to the Readings

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Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24

God does not make death

  1. The author of Job uses the image of a whirling storm to portray God speaking.
  2. Job does not understand why terrible things have happened to him.
  3. Through the questions God asks Job about control of the sea, Job realizes that God is in control.

2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15

May you abound in your work of charity

  1. The author of the Book of Wisdom gives some insight into life after death.
  2. The idea of resurrection began to emerge in Israel only in the final two centuries before Christ.
  3. Today’s reading presents the idea that righteousness cannot die. Therefore, the human relationship with God cannot die.

Mark 5:21-43

The family’s astonishment was complete!

  1. Jesus’ miracles are a sign that the power of Satan is broken and the kingdom of God has arrived.
  2. The miracle in the center of today’s Gospel is sandwiched between the parts of another. This is one of Mark’s favorite techniques.
  3. One touch of Jesus’ clothing and the woman with the hemorrhage is healed. The power of Satan is broken, and new life has entered the world.
SOURCE: Content adapted from Our Sunday Visitor

Catholic Productions

Dr. Brant Pitre

VIDEO: A New Creation in Christ (1 Cor 5:4-17)
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SOURCE: The Mass Readings Explained | Intro
Hearers of the Word

Dr. Kieran J. O’Mahony, OSA

AUDIO — Commentary on Gospel

VIDEO — Commentary on the Gospel
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PDF Commentary (5 pages)
SOURCE: Hearers of the Word
Navarre Bible
Commentary on Sunday's Readings (PDF)

Click to access 13-ordinary-time-year-b.pdf

Sources include The Jerome Biblical Commentary, The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, and The Navarre Bible. In addition, Church History by Laux (TAN Books), Introduction to the Bible by Laux (TAN Books), A Guide to the Bible by Fuentes (Four Courts Press), and Sharing Our Biblical Story by Russell for background information. We also included quotations from The Faith of the Early Fathers (3 volumes) by Jergens and Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (many volumes) edited by Odum.
SOURCE: Bible study program at St. Charles Borromeo (Picayune, MS) courtesy of Military Archdiocese.
Raymond E. Brown

Introduction to the New Testament

Second Reading in Context

General Analysis of the Message

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Gospel Reading in Context

Four Miraculous Actions in Mark 4:35—5:43

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Ave Maria Press

A Catholic Study of God’s Word

Wisdom Books: A Unique Form of Spirituality

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saint louis university

Scripture in Depth


FIRST READING: The doctrine of this passage appears at first sight to conflict with the self-evident truth that death is a biological fact. It is arguable, however, from the connection of immortality with righteousness (see Wisdom 1:15), that the author is speaking of moral and spiritual death, as Paul undoubtedly does in Romans 5.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM:This psalm was originally associated with the restoration of the temple in the time of the Maccabees in 164 B.C. In that case, the original reference to “death” would be the catastrophes of the desecration of the temple.

SECOND READING:Paul is contrasting the motivation of his own ministry with that of the false teachers by whom the Corinthians are captivated.

GOSPEL: The strongest motivation for Christian giving is specified in 2 Corinthians 8:9—gratitude for the riches Christ has brought through his self-emptying in the incarnation (for the doctrine, see Philippians 2:6-11).



Visit for more resources (e.g PRAYING TOWARD SUNDAY, MUSIC OF SUNDAY, GENERAL INTERCESSIONS) to help you reflect on the spirituality of the scriptures before Mass.

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)


Victory over Death and
the Gift of Life

God created humans to be immortal and to live forever in fellowship with the Divine Creator. God did not make death, as the First Reading tells us. Death entered the world through the devil’s envy and because of Adam and Eve’s sin of rebellion (Wis 1:13; 2:23-24). A consequence of our original parents’ fall from grace was that sin broke humankind’s immortal tie with God. The human soul remained immortal, but the loss of divine grace meant the gates of Heaven were closed to humanity, and the curse of physical suffering and death reigned until the coming of the Redeemer-Messiah. The promised Davidic Messiah’s mission was to break the power of sin and death over humanity and reopen Heaven’s gates (CCC 5361026).

Excerpts from Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study.  Material slightly reformatted. Used with permission.
First Reading

God Created Man To Be Immortal

13 God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.  14 For he fashioned all things that they might have being, and the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is not a destructive drug among them, nor any domain of the netherworld on earth, 15 for justice is undying.  […] 2:23 For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him.  24 But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world and they who belong to his company experience it.

God is the Author of Life

God is the author of life, and He created all life to be good and wholesome (see the seven-time repetition of the goodness of Creation in Genesis 1:41012182125, and finally in 31 where the pronouncement is that Creation is “very good”). God created human beings in the image of Himself, the One holy and just God (Gen 1:27), and it was God’s plan for men and women to live forever in justice and immortality in fellowship with their Creator-God.

God did Not Create Death or Evil

The inspired writer of the Book of Wisdom assures us that God did not make death (verse 13), nor did He create evil. Death is the absence of life in the same way that darkness is the absence of light, cold the absence of heat, and evil the absence of God. Evil does not exist unto itself. It is like darkness and cold; it is a word created to describe the absence of its opposite. Evil is not like faith or love; these are the gifts of experiencing God. Evil is the result of what can happen when someone does not have God’s love present in his or her heart or when an entity like Satan and his fallen angels stand in opposition to God. It is like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.

Original Sin

Physical death came about due to the devil’s envy of humanity’s unique place in God’s Divine Plan (Wis 2:24). In Greek, “diabolos” (devil) means “accuser,” and it is the usual translation given the Hebrew word “Satan.” In his malice, Satan took the form of a serpent (Rev 12:9) and tempted our first parents into the sin of rebellion against the sovereignty of God in eating from the forbidden tree in the garden Sanctuary of Eden. Their sin resulted in separation from divine fellowship and forfeiting divine sonship in their loss of grace. Physical death became the symbol of spiritual death that is the permanent separation from communion with God. Their sin became the shared sin of all their descendants as human beings were from that time forward imperfectly fathered in a state of sin inherited by their offspring. The Church calls this condition “original sin” (CCC 400-1409399).

St. John told us that Jesus came to undo the work of Satan, to remove humanity from the power of sin and death, to restore divine sonship and communion in the image and likeness of God the Father, lost in the fall of Adam.  St. John wrote, Whoever sins belongs to the devil because the devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil (1 Jn 3:8-9). In destroying the “works of the devil,” Christ has returned humanity to the original state of divine grace and the promise of eternal life.

Excerpts from Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study.  Material slightly reformatted. Used with permission.
Responsorial Psalm

Eternal Gratitude

The response is: “I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.”

A Psalm of Praise

The title of Psalm 30 reads: “A psalm. A song for the dedication of the Temple. Of David.”  It is a classic example of a Toda Psalm (the Hebrew word toda means “thanksgiving”). Modern Biblical scholars classify it as a psalm of narrative or declarative praise. This type of psalm typically reflects a situation in which the psalmist has passed through a dark period of crisis and is now thankful to find refuge and salvation in the Lord. The psalmist credits the Lord God for his salvation and joyfully expresses praise to God for his deliverance.

Responsorial Psalmody Structure

In verse 2, the psalmist gives God credit for delivering him from the power of his enemies. In verse 4, he thanks God for saving him from the destination of the dead, which he refers to as Sheol in the Hebrew text (Hades in the Greek). Sheol is called the “grave” or “netherworld,” and “abode of the dead,” but also “the pit” (as in verse 4). It was the fate of all who died a physical death, the righteous and wicked, in the time before the advent of the Messiah (see CCC 632-33).

In verse 5, the psalmist calls for the covenant community to join him in praising God for his deliverance and the liturgical assembly to sing (zamar) and give thanks (yada) to God. He testifies that God’s anger expressed in temporal judgments is not forever, and repentance at nightfall leads to forgiveness and rejoicing at dawn.

In the last part of the reading, the psalmist returns to the reversal God accomplished for him. He uses the poetic theme of polarities as he contrasts mourning (the Hebrew word is misped) with dancing. The Hebrew word misped goes beyond the typical reflective state of mourning and implies external, ritual acts of mourning, like a dirge sung in a procession for the dead. He confesses that God in His mercy changed what could have been a dance of grief into a dance of praise (Ecc 3:4 pairs these same two words), and for this, he forever gives God his thanks (verse 13).

The Christian Context of Psalm

The words of this psalm recall the mission of David’s descendant and heir, Jesus the Davidic Messiah. In His glorious resurrection, Jesus thanks God the Father for not abandoning Him to Sheol, the abode of the dead into which He descended after His physical death to redeem those imprisoned there (1 Pt 3:18-204:6).

Application for Us Today

In this context, the psalm reveals its prophetic meaning in proclaiming what God did when he raised Jesus after he tasted death and what He will also do for us. Therefore, when reciting this psalm, we should rejoice as disciples of the Lord, as we acknowledge Jesus as our defender and Savior. Even if we suffer, either because of sin in the world or for persecution in defending Christ, we have confidence that our Lord will not abandon us to the grave. Instead, our mourning will be turned into gladness when we enter into the heavenly Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Excerpts from Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study.Material slightly reformatted. Used with permission.
Second Reading

The Need for Charity

St. Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth, Greece, written from Macedonia about a year after his first letter, is a letter of recommendation for Titus and an unnamed missionary companion. Paul sent Titus (who had since arrived) to correct and encourage the community in faith and right teaching (8:6-716-17). Among other problems, it appears the Corinthians are not meeting the needs of the poor within their community.

Paul’s Compliment to Faith Community

Paul begins by complimenting the faith community in verse 7 before reminding them of the sacrifice Jesus made for them by giving up His life on the altar of the Cross. Paul reminds them that Christ stripped Himself of His divine glory and the privileges that were rightly His as God’s divine Son. He did this so He might share in our frail human lives and our sufferings and death.  He willingly made this sacrifice so that they might receive the gift of forgiveness of their sins and the promise of eternal life (verse 9). Paul asks, if Christ could make this great sacrifice of His life, can’t they make the small sacrifice of some material blessings for the sake of others?

Paul’s Principle of Equality

Then in verse 13, Paul introduces the principle of equality into the discussion. The goal is not impoverishment or privation but the sharing of resources for the benefit of all. In verse 15, Paul quotes Exodus 16:18 and grounds his argument on the experience of the children of Israel when they gathered manna in the desert. Equality was achieved independently of personal success in gathering the resource of the manna with an even hand according to their need: Whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less. This example is the same principle Paul wants the Corinthians to apply to their faith community.

Application for Us Today

Today’s Second Reading should cause us to reflect on our responsibility to love our neighbor as ourselves, which Jesus identified as the second greatest commandment (Mt 23:39). We must resolve to share our resources with those in need as a demonstration of our obedience to Jesus’s command to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” We should do this in gratitude for the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior on our behalf and for the resulting temporal and eternal blessings we have received.

Excerpts from Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study.  Material slightly reformatted. Used with permission.

New Life in Christ

In Mark 5:21-43, we have two healing miracles told within one story. To fully understand the significance of the teaching, it is necessary to read the entire passage in Mark 5:21-43. St. Mark purposely intertwines the stories of the daughter of Jairus and the bleeding woman.  Notice the significant repeats in the two stories emphasized in our copy of the text with the words “daughter,” “twelve years,” “healed,” and “faith.”

The Daughter of Jarius

According to Matthew’s Gospel, after His healing miracles on the opposite shore of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus crossed the lake and “came into his own town” (Mt 9:1), presumably to Capernaum, the headquarters of His ministry in the Galilee. An official of the local Synagogue had faith that Jesus could heal his daughter. He was an important man in the community, but notice how reverently he approached Jesus in Mark 5:22-23.

Jairus asked Jesus to “lay your hands” on his daughter, and Jesus agreed to accompany Jairus to his home. The laying of hands on someone who was sick by an agent of God was an act that reflected the belief that the power of God’s spirit of healing could be transmitted by the power of touch (see 2 Kng 4:34).  The “laying-on-of-hands” was a practice recorded in the Bible since the time of the ratification of the Sinai Covenant and signified a transfer of power in various ways; for example:

      • By transferring the essence of the offerer to the life of an animal offered in sacrifice (Lev 1:4).
      • In communicating the power of a spiritual gift in the act of a blessing (Gen 48:13-14; Mt 19:13-15).
      • By communicating the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17; 19:7).
      • In the act of consecration to a theological or ecclesiastical office (Num 27:18; Dt 34:9; Acts 6:6; 1 Tim 5:22).
      • In healings by Jesus and the Apostles (Mt 9:18; Mk 6:5; Lk 13:13; Acts 9:12, 17).
      • In the authoritative selection of a substitute or successor (Num 8:10; 27:18; Dt 34:9).
      • The act of sentencing a criminal to death (Lev 24:14).

The Healing of Woman with the Hemorrhage

While Jesus was on his way to the home of Jairus, a woman with a bleeding problem touched His garment with the hope of being healed. The woman suffered from uncontrolled bleeding for 12 years (verse 25), perhaps caused by fibrous tumors in her uterus. The continuous bleeding would have had a significant impact on her life. For twelve years, she had been in a continual state of being ritually unclean. Anything she sat on or laid upon became “unclean,” and anyone touching her, her bed, or garments also became ritually unclean. Continuing in this state of ritual impurity, she could not attend her synagogue or Temple worship, and her condition impacted her association with friends and family. She would not have been able to even take her meals with them (see Lev 15:19-30).

When she touched Jesus’s cloak (probably grasping the tassel on the corner of His cloak as in Mk 6:56) in her desperation to receive healing, Jesus immediately felt the power go out of Him. When He discovered who had touched Him, Jesus praised her faith, telling her, Daughter, your faith has saved you; go in peace” (underlining added for emphasis). We might ask if Jesus is God, why didn’t He know who touched Him? Of course, He knew, but He asked the question knowing the answer in the same way God asked “Where are you?” when He confronted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:9). God demanded to know not where they were hiding but where they were in their relationship with Him, inviting them to come forward and confess their sin. In this case, Jesus was asking the woman to reveal her faith, her healing, and her gratitude so He could grant her His peace and forgiveness. Also, her public confession of healing would be an effective witness to others in bringing them to repentance and conversion.

The Healing of Jairus’ Daughter

When someone from Jairus’s house arrived to tell him his daughter had died, Jesus told Jairus to have faith. Faith is the same word Jesus spoke to the woman with the hemorrhage of blood in verse 34. Even though Jairus knew that His child was dead, there were past miracles that might have encouraged Jairus to have faith that Jesus could raise his daughter from the dead. For example, the prophets Elijah and Elisha both raised children from the dead (1 Kng 17:17-24 and 2 Kng 4:18-37).

When Jesus arrived at Jairus’ house, He only allowed Peter, James and John Zebedee, and the child’s parents to come into the child’s room. Including the child, there were seven people in the room. Seven is one of the so-called perfect numbers and in Scripture, symbolizing perfection and fulfillment, especially spiritual perfection. This event was the first time Peter, James, and John were singled out from among the other Apostles to accompany Jesus. They would also accompany Him when He ascended the Mt. of Transfiguration (Mk 9:2) and when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest (Mk 14:33).

In verse 39, Jesus insisted that the child was not dead. His statement that she was only asleep was a message of hope for the family. Jesus’s commanded, Talitha koum, in Aramaic, the common language of His time in Judea, means “Little girl, arise!” Her “sleep” and “rising” will prefigure an even greater miracle in the future in Jesus’s Resurrection and the “sleep” of the faithful as they await the final bodily resurrection to come at the end of the age (see 1 Cor 15:51-56; 1 Thes 4:14-18).

In verse 43, Jesus gave the parents the practical command to provide the child with something to eat. He also told them not to share the true nature of the miracle. Jesus asked for their silence because opposition to Him continued to grow, and He needed more time before the climax of His mission.

The Significance of the Parallel Stories

The significance of the parallel stories of the official’s daughter and the bleeding woman is that in the healings, the woman and the girl are Biblical “types” of Israel: both are “daughters” of Israel. Notice that Jesus calls the woman “daughter,” and the child is the “daughter” of the Synagogue official. The woman bled for twelve years, and the girl was twelve years old. Twelve is the symbolic number of Israel, a people who were the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob/Israel. Jesus healed the woman and raised the girl from the dead, just as He came to heal Old Covenant Israel and to free the faithful from bondage to sin and death by calling them to “arise” to a new life in a new and eternal covenant.

The Daughter The Bleeding Woman Israel
The official calls her his daughter (Mk 5:23). Jesus calls the woman daughter (Mk 5:34). Both the girl and the woman are daughters of Israel.
The official’s daughter was twelve years old (Mk 5:42). The woman bled for twelve years (Mk 5:25). Twelve is the number of Israel, composed initially of twelve tribes that were the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob/Israel.
Jesus healed and raised the official’s daughter from death, restoring the girl to her family (Mk 5:42). Jesus healed the bleeding woman, restoring her to her community (Mk 5:34). Jesus came to heal and restore Israel: to raise the faithful remnant of the new Israel from bondage to death and a new life in Christ Jesus and His New Covenant Kingdom of the Church.
Michal E. Hunt Copyright © 2011
Excerpts from Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study.  Material slightly reformatted. Used with permission.

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Niell Donavan

Sermon Writer

Richard Niell Donavan, a Disciples of Christ clergyman, published SermonWriter from 1997 until his death in 2020. His wife Dale has graciously kept his website online. A subscription is no longer required.


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Feasting on the WORD – YEAR B

Choosing to Live By A Holy Ethic

Stay faithful, Wisdom of Solomon assures those in the real world of self-interest and domination, because life does not end the way the world presumes.

FIRST READING: IIf the rich and powerful believe they have free license to run over the poor, the widows, the orphans, and those who raise questions about the ethic of carpe diem, it is because they wrongly believe that death is the end that awaits everyone. Not so, says Wisdom of Solomon. Only those who forsake a holy ethic will taste death. God’s chosen will know immortality.

This is good news in a world where choosing to live by a holy ethic does not necessarily lead to the prosperity proclaimed by the televangelist. Recently, a Harvard Law School–educated, second-career Catholic priest who serves in my neighborhood was asked if it was difficult to shift midcareer from a relatively restriction-free life to one where he is instructed where to live and where to lead, and told what he will be paid. He laughed at the assumption that his lawyer world had been “restriction-free.” “My previous work experience is very valuable, because I understand what it’s like to be in a workplace where you are constantly asked to do things that go against your convictions.”

Stay faithful, Wisdom of Solomon assures those in the real world of self-interest and domination, because life does not end the way the world presumes. Although oppressors may get their golden parachutes, six-digit salaries, and year-end bonuses here and now, they are, in fact, choosing the fast-approaching reward of death. This judgment, while admittedly harsh on the ears of a church that prefers to receive its grace with no strings attached, is according to the text, no judgment at all. God “does not delight in the death of the living. For he created all things so that they might exist” (1:13–14). Death is always less than what God wills for the living. This is good news for Mr. Jones, who is, indeed, with the Lord. Perhaps, more importantly, it is good news for the faithful who choose God’s holy ethic in a world constantly enticing them to choose otherwise, because they trust that God’s way leads to life.

SOURCE: EXCERPT taken from FEASTING ON THE WORD – YEAR B. All rights reserved.

A Woman Who Touches Jesus

God says that the more hopeless your circumstance, the more likely your salvation. The greater your cares, the more genuine your prayers. The darker the room, the greater the need for light.

A chronic menstrual disorder. A perpetual issue of blood. Such a condition would be difficult for any woman of any era. But for a Jewess, nothing could be worse. No part of her life was left unaffected.

Sexually . . . she could not touch her husband.
Maternally . . . she could not bear children. Domestically…anything she touched was considered unclean. No washing dishes. No sweeping floors.
Spiritually . . . she was not allowed to enter the temple.

She was physically exhausted and socially ostracized. She had sought help “under the care of many doctors” . . . She was a bruised reed.

She awoke daily in a body that no one wanted. She is down to her last prayer. And on the day we encounter her, she’s about to pray it.

By the time she gets to Jesus, He is surrounded by people. He’s on His way to help the daughter of Jairus, the most important man in the community. What are the odds that He will interrupt an urgent mission with a high official to help the likes of her? Very few.

But what are the odds that she will survive if she doesn’t take a chance? Fewer still. So she takes a chance.

“If I can just touch His clothes,” she thinks, “I will be healed.”

Risky decision. To touch Him, she will have to touch the people. If one of them recognizes her. . . . But what choice does she have? She has no money, no clout, no friends, no solutions. All she has is a crazy hunch that Jesus can help and a high hope that He will. . . .

There was no guarantee, of course. She hoped He’d respond…she longed for it . . . but she didn’t know if He would. All she knew was that He was good. That’s faith.

Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. Faith is the belief that God will do what is right.

“Blessed are the dirt-poor, nothing-to-give, trapped-in-a-corner, destitute, diseased,” Jesus said, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:6, my translation).

God’s economy is upside down (or rightside up and ours is upside down!) God says that the more hopeless your circumstance, the more likely your salvation. The greater your cares, the more genuine your prayers. The darker the room, the greater the need for light.
A healthy lady never would have appreciated the power of a touch of the hem of His robe. But this woman was sick…and when her dilemma met His dedication, a miracle occurred.

Her part in the healing was very small. All she did was extend her arm through the crowd. “If only I can touch Him.”. . .

Healing begins when we do something. Healing begins when we reach out. Healing starts when we take a step.

SOURCE: EXCERPT taken from LIFE LESSONS by Max Lucado (24 Book Series). All rights reserved.

God Can Make A Difference

Out there, Jesus confronts the most destructive forces known to man—the sea, demons, disease, and death—all out of control.

GOSPEL: Mark has taken us to the outer edge of human experience where only God can make a difference. Out there, Jesus confronts the most destructive forces known to man—the sea, demons, disease, and death—all out of control. Exercising His authority over these forces, in response to human futility, Jesus brings the peace that passes all understanding. Mark’s case can almost be closed. Who can deny that Jesus, through His servant ministry, is the Christ, the Son of God? At least, the burden of proof is shifting heavily toward those who will still deny Him.

SOURCE: Excerpt taken from THe Preacher’s Commentary, Complete 35-Volume Set: Genesis–Revelation offers pastors, teachers, and Bible study leaders clear and compelling insights into the entire Bible that will equip them to understand, apply, and teach the truth in God’s Word.

Power to Face Anything

Jesus’ power is more than sufficient to bring deliverance, strength, and even healing.

GOSPEL – In many African traditional religions, people are afraid of trouble-making ancestors, evil spirits, witches, and witchcraft. Many in our continent will resort to going to a local traditional healer for help. Sometimes even Christians will seek to resist evil powers by combining their Christian faith with sorcery. In a context where illness is attributed to evil powers, a mother will ask her pastor to pray for her sick child and then will visit the local traditional healer for a cure.

In Mark 5, Jesus encountered evil spirits, disease, and death. In each instance, people were powerless to help. They could not help the demon-possessed man who had been banished from society, the chronically sick woman beyond the help of doctors, or the frantic father trying to save his dying daughter. But none of these problems was too difficult for Jesus to handle. With a mere word, Jesus banished evil, restored sanity and health, and gave life. Such is the authority and power of the Son of God!

When confronted by evil today, as Christians, we must remember the words of Jesus: “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith” (Mark 5:36). Jesus’ power is more than sufficient to bring deliverance, strength, and even healing.

SOURCE: EXCERPT taken from Africa Study Bible. All rights reserved.

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13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

commentary on readingsThe Catena Aurea (Golden Chain) is Thomas Aquinas’ compilation of Patristic commentary on the Gospels. It seamlessly weaves together extracts from various Church Fathers.

Annotated index of Church Fathers used in commentary

Third Century

  • Origen – Alexandrian biblical critic, exegete, theologian, and spiritual writer; analyzed the Scriptures on three levels: the literal, the moral, and the allegorical
  • Cyprian – pagan rhetorician converted to Christianity; acquired acquired a profound knowledge of the Scriptures and the writings of Tertullian; elected bishop of Carthage; martyred in 258

Fourth Century

  • Eusebius – Bishop of Caesarea; author of Ecclesiastical History, the principal source for the history of Christianity from the Apostolic Age till his own day; also wrote a valuable work on Biblical topography called the Onomasticon
  • Athanasius – Bishop of Alexandria; attended the Council of Nicea; opposed Arianism, in defence of the faith proclaimed at Nicaea—that is, the true deity of God the Son
  • Hilary – Bishop of Poitiers; the earliest known writer of hymns in the Western Church; defended the cause of orthodoxy against Arianism; became the leading Latin theologian of his age
  • Gregory of Nazianzus – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; a great influence in restoring the Nicene faith and leading to its final establishment at the Council of Constantinople in 381
  • Gregory of Nyssa – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; Bishop of Nyssa; took part in the Council of Constantinople
  • Ambrose – Bishop of Milan; partly responsible for the conversion of Augustine; author of Latin hymns; it was through his influence that hymns became an integral part of the liturgy of the Western Church
  • Jerome – biblical scholar; devoted to a life of asceticism and study; his greatest achievement was his translation of the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate); also wrote many biblical commentaries
  • Nemesius – Christian philosopher; Bishop of Emesa in Syria
  • Augustine – Bishop of Hippo (in northern Africa); a “Doctor of the Church”; most famous work is his Confessions; his influence on the course of subsequent theology has been immense
  • Chrysostom – Bishop of Constantinople; a “Doctor of the Church”; a gifted orator; his sermons on Gen, Ps, Isa, Matt, John, Acts, and the Pauline Epistles (including Hebrews) established him as the greatest of Christian expositors
  • Prosper of Aquitaine – theologian; supporter of Augustinian doctrines; closely associated with Pope Leo I (“the Great”)
  • Damasus – pope; active in suppressing heresy
  • Apollinaris of Laodicea – Bishop of Laodicea; close friend of Athanasias; vigorous advocate of orthodoxy against the Arians
  • Amphilochius of Iconium – Bishop of Iconium; close friend of the Cappadocian Fathers; defended the full Divinity of the Holy Spirit

Fifth Century

  • Asterius of Amasea – Arian theologian; some extant homilies on the Psalms attributed to him
  • Evagrius Ponticus – spiritual writer; noted preacher at Constantinople; spent the last third of his life living a monastic life in the desert
  • Isidore of Pelusium – an ascetic and exegete; his extant correspondence contains much of doctrinal, exegetical, and moral interest
  • Cyril of Alexandria – Patriarch of Alexandria; contested Nestorius; put into systematic form the classical Greek doctrines of the Trinity and of the Person of Christ
  • Maximus of Turin – Bishop of Turin; over 100 of his sermons survive
  • Cassion (prob. Cassian) – one of the great leaders of Eastern Christian monasticism; founded two monasteries near Marseilles; best known books the Institutes and the Conferences
  • Chrysologus – Bishop of Ravenna; a “Doctor of the Church”
  • Basil “the Great” – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; Bishop of Caesarea; responsible for the Arian controversy’s being put to rest at the Council of Constantinople
  • Theodotus of Ancyra – Bishop of Ancyra; wrote against the teaching of Nestorius
  • Leo the Great – Pope who significantly consolidated the influence of the Roman see; a “Doctor of the Church”; his legates defended Christological orthodoxy at the Council of Chalcedon
  • Gennadius – Patriarch of Constantinople; the author of many commentaries, notably on Genesis, Daniel, and the Pauline Epistles
  • Victor of Antioch – presbyter of Antioch; commentator and collector of earlier exegetical writings
  • Council of Ephesus – declared the teachings of Nestorious heretical, affirming instead the unity between Christ’s human and divine natures
  • Nilus – Bishop of Ancyra; disciple of St John Chrysostom; founder of a monastery; conducted a large correspondence influencing his contemporaries; his writings deal mainly with ascetic and moral subjects

Sixth Century

  • Dionysius Areopagita (aka Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite) – mystical theologian; combined Neoplatonism with Christianity; the aim of all his works is the union of the whole created order with God
  • Gregory the Great – Pope; a “Doctor of the Church”; very prolific writer of works on practical theology, pastoral life, expositions of Job, sermons on the Gospels, etc.
  • Isidore – Bishop of Seville; a “Doctor of the Church”; concerned with monastic discipline, clerical education, liturgical uniformity, conversion of the Jews; helped secure Western acceptance of Filioque clause
  • Eutychius (Patriarch of Constan­tinople) – consecrated the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople; defended the Chalcedonian faith against an unorthodox sect; became controversial later in life
  • Isaac (Bp. of Nineveh) (aka Isaac the Syrian) – monastic writer on ascetic subjects
  • Severus (Bp. of Antioch) – Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch; the leading theologian of the moderate Monophysites
  • John Climacus – ascetic and writer on the spiritual life; later Abbot of Mt. Sinai; best known for his Ladder of Divine Ascent which treats of the monastic virtues and vices
  • Fulgentius – Bishop of Ruspe in N. Africa; scholarly disposition; follower of St. Augustine; wrote many treatises against Arianism and Pelagianism

Seventh Century

  • Maximus ( of Constantinople, 645.) – Greek theologian; prolific writer on doctrinal, ascetical, exegetical, and liturgical subjects

Eighth Century

  • Bede (131CESK) – “the Venerable Bede”; a “Doctor of the Church”; pedagogue, biblical exegete, hagiographer, and historian, the most influential scholar from Anglo-Saxon England
  • John Damascene – Greek theologian; a “Doctor of the Church”; defender of images in the Iconoclastic Controversy; expounded the doctrine of the perichoresis (circumincession) of the Persons of the Trinity
  • Alcuin – Abbot of St. Martin’s (Tours); a major contributor to the Carolingian Renaissance; supervised the production of several complete editions of the Bible; responsible for full acceptance of the Vulgate in the West

Ninth Century

  • Haymo (of Halberstadt) – German Benedictine monk who became bishop of Halberstadt; prolific writer
  • Photius (of Constantinople) – Patriarch of Constantinople; a scholar of wide interests and encyclopedic knowledge; his most important work, Bibliotheca, is a description of several hundred books (many now lost), with analyses and extracts; also wrote a Lexicon
  • Rabanus Maurus – Abbot of Fulda in Hess Nassau; later Archbishop of Mainz; wrote commentaries on nearly every Book of the Bible
  • Remigius (of Auxerre) monk, scholar, and teacher
  • Paschasius Radbertus – Carolingian theologian; wrote commentaries on Lamentations and Matthew, as well as the first doctrinal monograph on the Eucharist, he maintained the real Presence of Christ

Eleventh Century

  • Theophylact – Byzantine exegete; his principal work, a series of commentaries on several OT books and on the whole of the NT except Revelation, is marked by lucidity of thought and expression and closely follows the scriptural text
  • Anselm – Archbishop of Canterbury; a “Doctor of the Church”; highly regarded teacher and spiritual director; famous ontological argument for the existence of God as “that than which nothing greater can be thought”
  • Petrus Alphonsus – Jewish Spanish writer and astronomer, a convert to Christianity; one of the most important figures in anti-Judaic polemics
  • Laufranc (prob. Lanfranc) – Archbishop of Canterbury; commented on the Psalms and Pauline Epistles; his biblical commentary passed into the Glossa Ordinaria
Catena Aurea

Mark 5:21-34

21. And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea.

22. And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,

23. And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.

24. And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.

25. And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,

26. And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,

27. When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

28. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.

29. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

30. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?

31. And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

32. And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.

33. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.

34. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.


THEOPHYLACT. After the miracle of the demoniac, the Lord works another miracle, namely, in raising up the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue; the Evangelist, before narrating this miracle, says, And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him.

AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Evan. 2. 28) But we must understand, that what is added of the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue, took place when Jesus had again crossed the sea in a ship, though how long after does not appear; for if there were not an interval, there could be no time for the taking place of that which Matthew relates, concerning the feast at his own house; after which event, nothing follows immediately, except this concerning the daughter of the chief of the synagogue. For he has so put it together, that the transition itself shews that the narrative follows the order of time. It goes on, There cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, &c.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. (Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.) He has recorded the name on account of the Jews of that time, that it might mark the miracle. It goes on, And when he saw him, he fell at his feet, and besought him greatly, &c. Matthew indeed relates that the chief of the synagogue reported that his daughter was dead, but Mark says that she was very sick, and that afterwards it was told to the ruler of the synagogue, when our Lord was about to go with him, that she was dead. The fact then, which Matthew implies, is the same, namely, that He raised her from the dead; and it is for the sake of brevity, that he says that she was dead, which was evident from her being raised.

AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) For he attaches himself not to the words of the father, but to what is of most importance, his wishes; for he was in such despair, that his wish was that she should return to life, not thinking that she could be found alive, whom he had left dying.

THEOPHYLACT. Now this man was faithful in part, inasmuch as he fell at the feet of Jesus, but in that he begged of Him to come, he did not shew as much faith as he ought. For he ought to have said, Speak the word only, and my daughter shall be healed. There follows, And he went away with him, and much people followed him, and thronged him; and a woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, &c.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. in Mat. 31) This woman, who was celebrated and known to all, did not dare to approach the Saviour openly, nor to come to Him, because, according to the law, she was unclean; for this reason she touched Him behind, and not in front, for that she durst not do, but only ventured to touch the hem of His garment. It was not however the hem of the garment, but her frame of mind that made her whole. There follows, For she said, If I may but touch his clothes, I shall be whole.

THEOPHYLACT. Most faithful indeed is this woman, who hoped for healing from His garments. For which reason she obtains health; wherefore it goes on, And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. (Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.) Now the virtues of Christ are by His own will imparted to those men, who touch Him by faith. Wherefore there follows, And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? The virtues indeed of the Saviour do not go out of Him locally or corporally, nor in any respect pass away from Him. For being incorporeal, they go forth to others and are given to others; they are not however separated from Him, from whom they are said to go forth, in the same way as sciences are given by the teacher to his pupils. Therefore it says, Jesus, knowing in himself the virtue which had gone out of him, to shew that with His knowledge, and not without His being aware of it, the woman was healed. But He asked, Who touched me? although He knew her who touched Him, that He might bring to light the woman, by her coming forward, and proclaim her faith, and lest the virtue of His miraculons work should be consigned to oblivion. It goes on, And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? But the Lord asked, Who touched me, that is in thought and faith, for the crowds who throng Me cannot be said to touch Me, for they do not come near to Me in thought and in faith. There follows, And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.

THEOPHYLACT. For the Lord wished to declare the woman, first to give His approbation to her faith, secondly to urge the chief of the synagogue to a confident hope that He could thus cure his child, and also to free the woman from fear. For the woman feared because she had stolen health; wherefore there follows, But the woman, fearing and trembling, &c.

BEDE. (in Marc. ii. 22) Observe that the object of His question was that the woman should confess the truth of her long 1want of faith, of her sudden belief and healing, and so herself be confirmed in faith, and afford an example to others. But he said to her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague. He said not, Thy faith is about to make thee whole, but has made thee whole, that is, in that thou hast believed, thou hast already been made whole.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Macr. v. Chrys. Hom. in Mat. 31.) He calls her daughter because she was saved by her faith; for faith in Christ makes us His children.

THEOPHYLACT. But He saith to her, Go in peace, that is, in rest, which means, go and have rest, for up to this time thou hast been in pains and torture.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. (Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.) Or else He says, Go in peace, sending her away into that which is the final good, for God dwells in peace, that thou mayest know, that she was not only healed in body, but also from the causes of bodily pain, that is, from her sins

PSEUDO-JEROME. Mystically, however, Jairus comes after the healing of the woman, because when the fulness of the Gentiles has come in, then shall Israel be saved. (v. Rom. 11) Jairus means either illuminating, or illuminated, that is, the Jewish people, having cast off the shadow of the letter, enlightened by the Spirit, and enlightening others, falling at the feet of the Word, that is, humbling itself before the Incarnation of Christ, prays for her daughter, for when a man lives himself, he makes others live also. Thus Abraham, and Moses, and Samuel, intercede for the people who are dead, and Jesus comes upon their prayers.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) Again, the Lord going to the child, who is to be healed, is thronged by the crowd, because though He gave healthful advice to the Jewish nation, he is oppressed by the wicked habits of that carnal people; but the woman with an issue of blood, cured by the Lord, is the Church gathered together from the nations, for the issue of blood may be either understood of the pollution of idolatry, or of those deeds, which are accompanied by pleasure to flesh and blood. But whilst the word of the Lord decreed salvation to Judæa, the people of the Gentiles by an assured hope seized upon the health, promised and prepared for others.

THEOPHYLACT. Or else, by the woman, who had a bloody flux, understand human nature; for sin rushed in upon it, which since it killed the soul, might be said to spill its blood. It could not be cured by many physicians, that is, by the wise men of this world, and of the Law and the Prophets; but the moment that it touched the hem of Christ’s garment, that is, His flesh, it was healed, for whosoever believes the Son of man to be Incarnate is he who touches the hem of His garment.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) Wherefore one believing woman touches the Lord, whilst the crowd throngs Him, because He, who is grieved by divers heresies, or by wicked habits, is worshipped faithfully with the heart of the Catholic Church alone. But the Church of the Gentiles came behind Him; because though it did not see the Lord present in the flesh, for the mysteries of His Incarnation had been gone through, yet it attained to the grace of His faith, and so when by partaking of His sacraments, it merited salvation from its sins, as it were the fountain of its blood was dried up by the touch of His garments. And the Lord looked round about to see her who had done this, because He judges that all who deserve to be saved are worthy of His look and of His pity.

Mark 5:35-43

35. While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?

36. As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.

37. And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.

38. And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.

39. And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.

40. And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.

41. And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.

42. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.

43. And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.


THEOPHYLACT. Those who were about the ruler of the synagogue, thought that Christ was one of the prophets, and for this reason they thought that they should beg of Him to come and pray over the damsel. But because she had already expired, they thought that He ought not to be asked to do so. Therefore it is said, While he yet spake, there came messengers to the ruler of the synagogue, which said, Thy daughter is dead; why troublest thou the Master any further? But the Lord Himself persuades the father to have confidence. For it goes on, As soon as Jesus heard the word which was spoken, he saith to the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid; only believe.

AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) It is not said that he assented to his friends who brought the tidings and wished to prevent the Master from coming, so that our Lord’s saying, Fear not, only believe, is not a rebuke for his want of faith, but was intended to strengthen the belief which he had already. But if the Evangelist had related, that the ruler of the synagogue joined the friends who came from his house, in saying that Jesus should not be troubled, the words which Matthew relates him to have said, namely, that the damsel was dead, would then have been contrary to what was in his mind. It goes on, And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.

THEOPHYLACT. For Christ in His lowliness would not do any thing for display. It goes on, And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. (Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.) But He Himself commands them not to wail, as if the damsel was not dead, but sleeping; wherefore it says, And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.

PSEUDO-JEROME. It was told the ruler of the synagogue, Thy daughter is dead. But Jesus said to him, She is not dead, but sleepeth. Both are true, for the meaning is, She is dead to you, but to Me she is asleep.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) For to men she was dead, who were unable to raise her up; but to God she was asleep, in whose purpose both the soul was living, and the flesh was resting, to rise again. Whence it became a custom amongst Christians, that the dead, who, they doubt not, will rise again, should be said to sleep. It goes on, And they laughed him to scorn.

THEOPHYLACT. But they laugh at Him, as if unable to do any thing farther; and in this He convicts them of bearing witness involuntarily, that she was really dead whom He raised up, and therefore, that it would be a miracle if He raised her.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) Because they chose rather to laugh at than to believe in this saying concerning her resurrection, they are deservedly excluded from the place, as unworthy to witness His power in raising her, and the mystery of her rising; wherefore it goes on, But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.

CHRYSOSTOM. (non occ.) Or else, to take away all display, He suffered not all to be with Him; that, however, He might leave behind Him witnesses of His divine power, He chose His three chief disciples and the father and mother of the damsel, as being necessary above all. And He restores life to the damsel both by His hand, and by word of mouth. Wherefore it says, And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, Arise. For the hand of Jesus, having a quickening power, quickens the dead body, and His voice raises her as she is lying; wherefore it follows, And straightway the damsel arose and walked.

JEROME. (ad Pam. Ep. 57) Some one may accuse the Evangelist of a falsehood in his explanation, in that he has added, I say unto thee, when in Hebrew, Talitha cumi only means, Damsel, arise; but He adds, I say unto thee, Arise, to express that His meaning was to call and command her. It goes on, For she was of the age of twelve years.

GLOSS. (non occ.) The Evangelist added this, to shew that she was of an age to walk. By her walking, she is shewn to have been not only raised up, but also perfectly cured. It continues, And a they were astonished with a great astonishment.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. in Mat. 31) To shew that He had raised her really, and not only to the eye of fancy.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) Mystically; the woman was cured of a bloody flux, and immediately after the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue is reported to be dead, because as soon as the Church of the Gentiles is washed from the stain of vice, and called daughter by the merits of her faith, at once the synagogue is broken up on account of its zealous treachery and envy; treachery, because it did not choose to believe in Christ; envy, because it was vexed at the faith of the Church. What the messengers told the ruler of the synagogue, Why troublest thou the Master any more, is said by those in this day who, seeing the state of the synagogue, deserted by God, believe that it cannot be restored, and therefore think that we are not to pray that it should be restored. But if the ruler of the synagogue, that is, the assembly of the teachers of the Law, determine to believe, the synagogue also, which is subjected to them, will be saved. Further, because the synagogue lost the joy of having Christ to dwell in it, as its faithlessness deserved, it lies dead as it were, amongst persons weeping and wailing. Again, our Lord raised the damsel by taking hold of her hand, because the hands of the Jews, which are full of blood, must first be cleansed, else the synagogue, which is dead, cannot rise again. But in the woman with the bloody flux, and the raising of the damsel, is shewn the salvation of the human race, which was so ordered by the Lord, that first some from Judæa, then the fulness of the Gentiles, might come in, and so all Israel might be saved. Again, the damsel was twelve years old, and the woman had suffered for twelve years, because the sinning of unbelievers was contemporary with the beginning of the faith of believers; wherefore it is said, Abraham believed on God, and it was counted to him for righteousnessu. (Gen. 15:6)

GREGORY. (Mor. 4, 27) Morally again, our Redeemer raised the damsel in the house, the young man without the gate, Lazarus in the tomb; he still lies dead in the house, whose sin is concealed; he is carried without the gate, whose sin has broken forth into the madness of an open deed; he lies crushed under the mound of the tomb, who in the commission of sin, lies powerless beneath the weight of habit.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) And we may remark, that lighter and daily errors may be cured by the remedy of a lighter penance. Wherefore the Lord raises the damsel, lying in the inner chamber with a very easy cry, saying, Damsel, arise; but that he who had been four days dead might quit the prison of the tomb, He groaned in spirit, He was troubled, He shed tears. In proportion, then, as the death of the soul presses the more heavily, so much the more ardently must the fervour of the penitent press forward. But this too must be observed, that a public crime requires a public reparation; wherefore Lazarus, when called from the sepulchre, was placed before the eyes of the people: but slight sins require to be washed out by a secret penance, wherefore the damsel lying in the house is raised up before few witnesses, and those are desired to tell no man. The crowd also is cast out before the damsel is raised; for if a crowd of worldly thoughts be not first cast out from the hidden parts of the heart, the soul, which lies dead within, cannot rise. Well too did she arise and walk, for the soul, raised from sin, ought not only to rise from the filth of its crimes, but also to make advances in good works, and soon it is necessary that it should be filled with heavenly bread, that is, made partaker of the Divine Word, and of the Altar.

SOURCE: eCatholic 2000 Commentary in public domain.

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

First Reading

The Ways of an Infinite God

Job 38:8
“Who decreed the boundaries of the seas when they gushed from the depths? Who clothed them with clouds and thick darkness

New Living Translation (Hover cursor above the scripture reference to read the NRSV version)

JOB 38:2–39:30 God used a series of questions to illustrate how little Job knew about creation and God’s ways. If Job knew nothing of these mysteries, how could he know anything about God’s character? All Job could do was worship and trust God.

We, too, wonder why we suffer. We wonder why bad things happen to us and those we love. But like Job, we are finite and cannot understand the ways of our infinite God. All we can do is praise him and await his deliverance.

SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.


Dark Night Struggles

Psalm 30:2
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health.

Psalm 30:1-5 What joy and gratitude we feel when God picks us up and does not allow our problems to defeat or destroy us! One of the hard lessons to learn during recovery is how to delay gratification. We may go through some long, dark nights struggling with temptation before we experience the joy of victory. But the Lord will not let our enemy triumph over us. When we do finally overcome, the joy of success will only be that much sweeter.

SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.

Second Reading

Helping Others in Need

2 Corinthians 8:9
You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.

2 Cor 8:9 Jesus Christ is the perfect model for graciously helping others. He became a lowly human being and died like a criminal on a cross to conquer our enemies—sin and death. He gave up his heavenly glory and willingly suffered on our behalf (see Philippians 2:6-8).

Besides enriching our life spiritually, Christ can also strongly identify with our pain and temptation (see Hebrews 4:15). He is available and able to help us in recovery. As we receive his help, we can then reach out helping hands to others in need.

SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.


Public Admission of Failures

Mark 5:23
pleading fervently with him. “My little daughter is dying,” he said. “Please come and lay your hands on her; heal her so she can live.”

Mark 5:21-43 Jairus was among a minority of Jewish leaders who responded positively to Jesus. Driven by love for his daughter and faith that Jesus could help her, Jairus risked the scorn of his peers by publicly seeking Jesus’ help. In the end, we see that his humble faith paid off.

Some of us avoid recovery because we are too ashamed to admit publicly that we have problems. But if we cannot humbly confess our sins, there is little hope for our healing. Like Jairus, we must risk the scorn of friends and enemies and admit our failures. If we do, we can be sure that Jesus will be there to help us. No problem is too great for him to solve; no wound is too deep for him to heal.

Reaching Out in Faith

Mark 5:28
For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.”

Mark 5:25-34 Sometimes we feel so ashamed of our sins that we think God’s opinion of us must mirror the social ostracism or self-loathing we have experienced. Such was the case with the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years and probably lived as an outcast. This hemorrhage was likely a menstrual or uterine disorder, which would have made her ritually “unclean” (see Leviticus 15:25-27). According to Jewish law, anyone who touched her would also be rendered unclean. But instead of shrinking back from touching Jesus, she reached out in faith and was miraculously healed.

We must never allow fear or shame to keep us from approaching God for forgiveness and healing. He is waiting for us to reach out and touch him.

SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.

Betraying God

Mark 14:18
and as they were sitting around the table eating, Jesus said, “I solemnly declare that one of you will betray me, one of you who is here eating with me.”

MK 14:10-26 We are often shocked by Judas’s betrayal of Jesus. Since Judas had spent about three years in close friendship with Jesus, we wonder what could have prompted him to act as he did.

Yet if we are truly honest with ourself, we may see the same potential in our own heart. Whenever we refuse to give Jesus authority over a certain area of our life, we act like Judas. Whenever we promise to do one thing and then do another, we act like Judas. We all have betrayed God in some way or another. We should use Judas’s failure as an opportunity to take a hard look at our own life. In what ways are we betraying God?

SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.

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