Memorial of Saint John Bosco, priest
(II Samuel 18:9-10.14b.24-25a.30-19:3; Mark 5:21-43)
A priest, working in an all-male high school, was known to be a strict disciplinarian. At that time corporal punishment was still in vogue, and the priest regularly practiced it. But he was by and large loved, not resented, because he administered punishment with fairness. His slap didn’t leave any scars. Those who received them walked away not hurt but more sober about the importance of good behavior. We may see St. John Bosco as such an effective educator.
John Bosco lived in Italy during the nineteenth century. After being ordained, he gave himself to educating youth. In time he established a religious congregation to work with him. Both the mission and the congregation prospered. Today the Salesians, as his congregation is called, has many prominent members - including the only two cardinals of Central America - and very large numbers.
John Bosco saw Jesus as a model. In one letter he remarked how Jesus was kind, patient, and friendly. No doubt he would find today’s gospel portrait of the Lord especially instructive. Jesus gently takes the dead girl by the hand and tells her to get up. The evangelist Mark adds drama to the scene by using the original Aramaic language, “Talitha koum”. We are to speak to children with such gentleness, firmness, and clarity of purpose. They will respond positively to such directives. As importantly, Jesus will add to our grace for such imitation of his goodness.