RISE UP AND LIVE
Today’s Gospel reports two stories of healing. One story tells us about a father’s great love for his dying daughter. The other story tells us about a desperate woman who risks much as she seeks healing from Jesus. In each story, the request for healing is itself a courageous act of faith, and yet very different circumstances are represented by the lives of each suffering person. Jairus is described as a synagogue official, a man of considerable standing in the Jewish community. Distraught over his daughter’s poor health, he approaches Jesus and asks him to heal her. As Jesus leaves with Jairus, Mark describes a second person who seeks healing from Jesus, a woman with a haemorrhage. This woman secretly touches Jesus from behind and is immediately cured. In response, Jesus turns and asks who touched him. Jesus’ disciples, always a little clueless in Mark’s Gospel, help us envision the scene. The crowds are pushing in on Jesus, and yet he, knowing that power has gone out of him, asks who touched him. The woman could have remained anonymous, yet at Jesus’ question she steps forward and acknowledges what she has done. Jesus responds by acknowledging her as a model of faith and sends her away in peace. When they arrive at Jairus’s home, they find family and friends mourning the girl’s death. Jesus enters the room of the dead girl, takes her by the hand, and instructs her to arise. Jairus’s faith in Jesus has not been in vain; his daughter is restored to life.
The contrasts between Jairus and the woman with the haemorrhage are stark and revealing. One is a man, the other is a woman. One is a public official, an important person in the community. The other is a woman who has lost everything to find a cure to a condition that separated her from the community. One approaches Jesus publicly. The other approaches Jesus secretly. Yet in each case, faith leads them to seek out Jesus in their time of need.
Let’s all rise up, to LIVE and to LOVE again in FAITH.