Fifth Sunday After Pentecost (Year B)
Scripture Readings*: 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27, Psalm 130, 2 Corinthians 8:7-15, Mark 5:21-43
2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27
David composed and sang a song in honor of Saul and Jonathan. He expresses hope that the Philistines will not find comfort in Saul’s death, then moves on to praise the two men for their skill and bravery in battle (1:21–23, 25, 27), their qualities of character (1:23), and their skill as national leaders (1:24).
David reserves special laments and praises for Jonathan, with whom he had enjoyed a special friendship (1:26). His description of Saul as “gracious” was generous, considering Saul’s relentless efforts to kill him (1 Sam. 18–26).
2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Paul was pleased that the Corinthians had earlier expressed a strong desire to support the church. However, the Corinthians needed to carry their intentions through to completion, “according to your means.” This is an important factor in grace giving. Paul said it again. “If the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.”
On the one hand, one need not be a millionaire for his or her contribution to be significant. Even the gifts of those who have little and can give little are acceptable. What God is concerned with is the willingness: the love that motivates the believer to share (cf. Luke 21:1–4).
Mark’s account of a girl restored to life and a woman healed (5:21–43) is a contrast of faith: a synagogue ruler, a highly respected community member, compared with a now-impoverished woman who lived as an outcast because of her hemorrhage.
The woman “had heard about Jesus” and exemplified faith in daring to touch the fringe of His garment. Her fear of illness and death is surpassed by her awe of the One who had healed her. Jesus’ address “Daughter” brought her into relationship with Him based on her saving faith (5:34). This new relationship makes going in God’s peace possible.
Jairus demonstrates a faith that defies logic. He trusts Jesus to restore life to his daughter… a faith that trusts God, no matter what.
The Greatness of Grace
On the surface, today’s readings have little in common. Look closely, however, and one unifying thread runs through them: God’s grace. It is grace that enables David to speak words of praise for Saul, the man who tried repeatedly to kill him. Paul’s words demonstrate that equal sacrifice and commitment are acts of grace as well, making gifts both large and small significant in God’s economy. Mark’s account of Jesus healing the woman with an issue of blood demonstrates not only physical restoration, but also the healing of relationship between the woman and Himself as well as the larger community.
What does this teach us about our own lives?
The heartbeat of God and the lifeblood of our own salvation is grace. When we are wronged by others, grace matters. Whether we are giving to or receiving from others, grace matters. When we are broken and hurting, grace matters. When we are restored and blessed, grace matters. Grace is both the marker of and magnet for our faith in Jesus Christ.
Prayer for Fifth Sunday after Pentecost– Holy God, give me grace so I can fully serve you and my neighbor; through Jesus Christ, Amen.
*Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year B