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Mark 5:21-43

The Word of God

Unpublished

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered round him; and he was by the lake. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.’ So he went with him.

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’ Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?” ’ He looked all round to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’

While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?’ But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, ‘Do not fear, only believe.’ He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, ‘Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha cum’, which means, ‘Little girl, get up!’ And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Mark 5:21-43
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • During his life on earth, Jesus revealed the mind of God to us. From him we learn that God hates sin but loves the sinner, He hates sickness but He loves the sick, He hates death but He loves the dying. In today’s Gospel we hear how he responded to the plea of a father who feared for the life of his twelve year old daughter. The Evangelist tells us that Jesus cured an afflicted woman had been suffering for exactly the same length of time.
    • The God of Life was carefully watching over both of them over that twelve year period. Johann Sebastian Bach named one of his Preludes for Organ, “God’s time is best”. It always is for all of us.
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    • Perhaps you are suffering right now--burning with anger at someone who has hurt you, or unable to forgive an old hurt, or you are a bit depressed. Talk with the woman who had been in pain for twelve years. Listen to her telling you to touch Jesus’ cloak. Imagine doing that. This is not magic but a meeting with Jesus and asking for his help: touching God carries its own healing power. Prayer can often feel like touching only the hem of Jesus’ garment, but it is authentic when, like the woman, you tell the Lord ‘the whole truth’. In ways that may surprise you ‘the truth sets you free’ (John 8:32).
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    • What strikes us about Jesus in this reading is his willingness to help those who are in need of his help. He is always sensitive to where people are and to what they need and is most practical in his concern for us.
    • If you wish to dwell with Jesus being like this for you now, you might let him be tuned into where you are in a sensitive way. Likewise you might allow yourself to be with Him as one who is attuned to your needs and does not impose His desires on you.
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    • Mark brings two incidents together by inserting one (woman with haemorrhage) into the narrative of the other (Jairus’ daughter). Both stories are gripping and moving, dealing as they do with people in extreme circumstances. The woman has a painful, debilitating illness (apparently incurable) that isolates her from the community because it is considered as making her “impure”. Jairus’ daughter, by the time Jesus reaches her, is already dead. As always, Jesus shows understanding and delicacy (especially in the case of the woman). And his authority over illness and death is supreme.
    • Note the stress that Jesus places on faith in both stories. To the woman he says: “Daughter, your faith has made you well”. And to Jairus: “Do not fear, only believe”. What does this say to you as you live your life as a Christian today?
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    • This Gospel reading presents us with two stories about how Jesus healed people. At the end of the first of these stories Jesus gives us the key to his healing ministry when he says, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease’. The main sickness Jesus is intent on healing is that which a sense of our insignificance brings on. The remedy Jesus says is faith in his love.
    • In prayer, perhaps spend time talking to Jesus about his work of healing, choose some aspect of a sense of insignificance you suffer from. Dwell with the reality that we spend a lot of time trying to make a name for ourselves where it is only his profound and personal love that can give us this sense of our indestructible worth.
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    • Given the length of this reading it is probably better to choose just one of the two miracles as matter for prayer. Both the raising of the daughter of Jairus and the healing of the woman with the haemorrhage are dramatically constructed stories, full of emotional power. They invite our participation. You might allow yourself to identify with Jairus or his wife (or even with their daughter) or with the distressed woman. In either case you are inserting yourself into the world's suffering but also experiencing the world's hope. Throughout keep your focus on Jesus, becoming aware of his deep compassion as well as of his healing power.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Here we find situations where human solutions fail. ‘She is at the point of death’ … ‘She grew worse’… ‘She is dead.’ But Jesus confronts human hopelessness. The needs of the sick and the faith of those concerned evoke a compassionate response from him. He is tender to the two women. He calls one, ‘Daughter!’ and the other, ‘Little girl’ (literally ‘Little lamb’).
    • In my need I too can turn to him and find healing. That healing will focus on my heart – my negativity, bad moods, hurtful responses, hardness. He is always trying to help me grow in love. Then I can in turn become a tender and healing presence to those around me.