Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost A.D. 2019
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"The girl is not dead, but sleepeth."
Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
The resurrection of
a young woman is described in each of the synoptic Gospels. She was
about twelve years of age, and the daughter of Jairus, the head of a
Synagogue in Galilee.
"And when Jesus was come into the house
of the ruler, and saw the minstrels and the multitude making a tumult,
he said: Give place: for the girl is not dead, but sleepeth.... And when
the multitude was put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand. And
the maid arose.”
In his commentary
On the Church Year, Father Leonard Goffine observes that our Lord
didn't work this great miracle until "the minstrels and the multitude”
were put out of the house.
Of course, Jesus is capable of working miracles under any
circumstances—noisy or quiet—but here is giving us a lesson in how we
are to pray for the things that we need. Father Goffine tells us that
we should always take the time to compose our prayers in “faith,
confidence, and humility.” Various translations say that people had
been “making a din,” “making a rout,” or “making a tumult” in the house
where Jesus had been summoned. All three of these words indicate a state
of confusion, and probably would have people trying to outdo each other
in making noise. None of this is conducive to faith, confidence, and
From this we should
learn to carefully chose the surroundings for our own prayers. Ideally,
we can find a quiet place and time. For some, that will take a little
effort. We may need to leave the house or retire to a room where we can
be alone. We may want to come to church, where we can enjoy both peace
and the presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
When I pray the
Rosary, I like to walk outside in the cool of the morning or evening,
where I can hear the crickets and the chirping of the birds—the walking
helps to dissipate that nervous energy that comes from standing or
sitting still in one place. I go early or late enough to avoid any
significant crowds of people. The complexity of God's handiwork in
nature tends to engender confidence in His powers, while simultaneously
reinforcing our humility. Of course, not everyone is alike, so you must
experiment enough to find out what works for you.
Some people do best
praying with friends or family—a wonderful thing if it works for you.
Certainly, children will benefit from the example of their elders—and
they may give their elders incentive to keep the prayer sessions
regular. Praying aloud will help you to concentrate, and ought to be
considered even by one alone. Many of the prayers which earn an
indulgence must be said aloud (or at least with movement of the lips and
tongue). Some very brief prayers— “aspirations” —like calling on the
Holy Family by name, or affirming at the elevation of the Mass that the
Host is “My Lord and my God” may be formed verbally or just mentally.
Regular hours for
prayer are essential if you pray together with friends or family. Even
if we pray alone, regularity will prevent us from ignoring our prayers.
In a monastery the members come together eight times each day, beginning
with Matins very early in the morning, and then about every three hours
until the bedtime prayer known as Compline. The monastic ideal may be
too much for people living busy lives in the world, but a regular
schedule is a good idea for everyone. A fixed time in the morning and
another in the evening seem to be about the minimum. If you are
interested in praying some of the monastic hours, there is a breviary
(or prayer book) on the internet that can be prayed with a tablet or a
It is very simple to use—much easier than the printed version—and I will
be happy to help anyone who is interested. Again, do find a quiet
We must all make
sure that our church remains a place for quiet recollection. It is a
place where people come to speak with Jesus Christ—any shift of
attention from Him to some other person is somewhat insulting to our
Lord. Only the most pressing words should be exchanged by parishioners
within the walls of our sanctuary. Even in the adjacent room where we
share coffee, we should be careful to keep the noise down for those who
remain in the sanctuary to pray before or after Mass.
Finally, do try to
find a day or two in your prayer schedule for attending weekday Mass.
Sunday is a day of obligation—weekdays generally are not. There can be
nothing more generous in your prayer life than attending Holy Mass