Help Us So We Can Help You
BY MAUREEN O’CONNELL | June 28, 2021
Jesus must have needed help from time to time. The throngs came to him—at him—with so much need, such different needs. Surely, Jesus must have wondered if could ever have enough, give enough, be enough for all of them.
A pearl of wisdom from one of the youngest members of a virtual House Church I’m a part of allowed me to recognize Jesus’ need, a different protagonist Mark’s Gospel, and the significance of St. Paul’s reminder that we’re all called to “gracious acts” that create abundance and equality: “God, help us so we can help you.”
Mark depicts an exchange of energy between Jesus and the unnamed woman. She is so confident in his power to heal her of an affliction that ostracizes her from the community—perhaps the very religious community that Jarius leads—that she merely touches Jesus’ clothing from the midst of the crowd following him on his way to cure Tabitha. She wordlessly affirms that Jesus is capable of meeting her need, that he is indeed enough. The woman’s faith in Jesus must have flowed back into him, replenishing his spirit and giving him something he needed, since he insists on curing Tabitha, knowing full well that this would no longer be a healing but now a raising from the dead. Abundance!
This woman’s abundance of faith also sparked the equality of Jesus’ gracious act. Jesus ends her 12 years of bleeding and then brings 12 year-old Tabitha back to life. Two people on very different sides of ritual purity laws—the nameless unclean woman they excluded and a synagogue who enforced them—receive a radical chance to be in a new community together. Equality!
How can we be like this unnamed woman and be protagonists with God in creating abundance and equality?
God, help us so we can help you.
Maureen H. O’Connell is Associate Professor of Christian Ethics in the Department of Religion and Theology at La Salle University. She recently published Undoing the Knots: Five Generations of American Catholic Anti-Blackness with Beacon Press.
Maureen H. O’Connell es profesora asociada de ética cristiana en el departamento de religión y teología de la Universidad La Salle. Recientemente publicó Undoing the Knots: Five Generations of American Catholic Anti-Blackness con Beacon Press.
When we live from abundance and not scarcity, we are capable of living in oneness with God and neighbor⚜️
Maureen, thank you for this invitation.
“The woman’s faith in Jesus must have flowed back into him, replenishing his spirit and giving him something he needed, since he insists on curing Tabitha, knowing full well that this would no longer be a healing but now a raising from the dead.” To me, the exchange of grace brings equality to all. Jesus receives the grace from the woman and then returns it by raising Tabitha from the dead. That exchange of grace we offer to God and God returns to others is a manifestation of the goodness of God to each one of us as we go throughout our day. We ask – what does God need from us and we provide the graces for Him to make that equality manifest. Our gift to God and subsequent gift to others provides the equality to our hearts and our lives.
Thanks for the challenging stuff, Maureen. Man-made laws and barricades are sometimes too weak. Faith can move mountains. Long live faith.