Lectionary Notes

Religious Freedom Week 2021: Solidarity in Freedom

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time – June 27, 2021

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Reading I – Wis 1:13-15; 2:23-24
Responsorial – Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11, 12, 13
Reading II – 2 Cor 8:7, 9, 13-15
Gospel - Mk 5:21-43

The Desire for Communion with God

  • All people desire to enjoy communion with God, and this desire gives rise to the search for religious truth and finds expression in the formation of religious culture.  Even people who claim no religious affiliation cannot help but need ritual, belonging, and truth.  Why? Because we all long to know and love the One in whose image we are made.  “For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him.”
  • The Church’s promotion of religious freedom expresses her solidarity with all people who seek the good and hope for fulfillment in the truth.  As Pope Francis teaches:

Hope speaks to us of a thirst, an aspiration, a longing for a life of fulfillment, a desire to achieve great things, things that fill our heart and lift our spirit to lofty realities like truth, goodness and beauty, justice and love… Hope is bold; it can look beyond personal convenience, the petty securities and compensations which limit our horizon, and it can open us up to grand ideals that make life more beautiful and worthwhile (Fratelli tutti, 55).

  • The fulfillment of hope is found in Jesus Christ.  We praise the Lord who rescues us from sin and death, who helps us to continue reaching out in hope.  And as we do so, we also make space for those around us who are reaching out in search of healing as well.


  • In the incarnation, the Son of God establishes solidarity with us.  He takes on the poverty of the human condition in order that he might make us rich as partakers of the divine nature.  In this way, God rescues us from our fallen state.
  • The life of discipleship, seeking to obey the Lord in everyday life and allowing God’s grace in the sacraments to transform our souls, conforms us to Jesus Christ.  We imitate the Incarnate Son of God when we practice solidarity with others.

“Solidarity finds concrete expression in service, which can take a variety of forms in an effort to care for others. And service in great part means ‘caring for vulnerability, for the vulnerable members of our families, our society, our people’” (Fratelli tutti, 115).

  • The Church in the United States suffers in some ways and experiences great abundance in other ways.  We remember, though, that we are united with Christians throughout the world by our common baptism.  We can express our solidarity with our suffering brothers and sisters in places like Nicaragua and Iraq by sharing from our abundance, including our material abundance.

Freedom at the Service of All People

  • In the passage from St. Mark’s gospel, we see Christ’s solidarity with all people.  The story features two healings that parallel one another.  There is, however, a bit of a contrast between them.  In one healing, a leader of the synagogue comes to Jesus on behalf of his daughter, while in the other, it is simply a woman from the crowd.  Jesus responds to both the leaders and the common people.  He comes to bring healing to people of all social groups.
  • In both healings, Jesus indicates that the faith of those who come to him is key to making them whole.  Both our world and our Church need healing, but do we believe that Jesus can heal us?  Too often, we Christians live as if we do not truly believe in the power of God’s grace to act upon us.  If we are to bear witness to faith in Jesus Christ, our own faith must be renewed.
  • Jesus is ridiculed by those who do not have faith.  All people who hope for great things, believing that God can bring life from death, will face ridicule at times.  This story gives us encouragement to continue to dream that God might bring about the unexpected.
  • To nurture our hope, we need to build bonds of solidarity with other dreamers.  The work of Catholic Charities is informed by this kind of hope.  The Christian Church has built hospitals, child welfare service providers, and schools with the hope of bringing all people into contact with the love of Jesus Christ.  We can create bonds of solidarity by building up these institutions, which are so necessary as the world seeks to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

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