The readings that have been set for this week are deeply challenging, but they go to the heart of the Gospel. In the Old Testament reading for this week, we see David’s surprising response to the news that Saul, the king of Israel, and his son, Jonathan, have both died. David’s grief over Jonathan is understandable – they were very close friends – but Saul had become his enemy and had tried on many occasions to kill him. David’s grief over his enemy, and the love it reveals, is a challenging reflection of the Gospel call to forgive and love our enemies.

In the Gospel we see Jesus serving two very different people. In the first case a woman who had been struggling with vaginal bleeding for twelve years secretly touched him. She had been “unclean” and unable to worship for all that time, and anything she touched became unclean. That’s why she tried to hide – she had defiled Jesus! But Jesus insisted that she show herself to ensure that everyone knew she was now clean. Then, in his “unclean” state, Jesus raised the dead daughter of the synagogue leader, Jairus. Poor and excluded, rich and included – Jesus helps them both. And both had much to lose by accepting Jesus’ compassion. Jairus could have lost his position in the synagogue, and the woman could have ended up in real trouble if Jesus or the crowd had become angry. But both, by being willing to risk being served, are healed.

Imagine, for a moment, what the world would be like if we each adopted these inclusive, gracious attitudes – even if only with those in our immediate vicinity! This is the challenge we face this week.

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