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Jairus’ daughter and the woman with a hemorrhage

Gospel Reading: Mk 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” But his disciples said to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” And he looked around to see who had done it. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. At that they were utterly astounded. He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.


Do not fear… only believe
There are two miracle stories intertwined in the Gospel, one of which is inserted in the middle of the main story. The two stories are linked by the theme of despair (also of fear), on the one hand, and that of faith and its effect, on the other. Jairus is on the brink of hopelessness, especially when told that his sick daughter has in fact already died. The hemorrhaging woman is in that same situation, having suffered for 38 years. Then comes Jesus whom they approach, but not without great difficulty because of the crowd. Showing great faith, both of them receive their wish: the woman gets cured, and Jairus’ daughter is brought back to life.

Both stories want to teach us that in times of hopelessness and fear we ought to strengthen our faith in the power of Jesus. For, as Jesus also says elsewhere, faith can move mountains, even if it seems as little as a mustard seed. In daily life, we often witness the great power of belief or faith, so that things that we thought impossible we are able to do.

And why is it that things seem impossible? We often think of our work as our very own project – that it all depends on us alone. But if we look at our tasks as a mission from God, or as part of God’s plan, then we start to look at them as joint projects with God and, therefore, rely not only on our own energies or capacities but also, and more so, on the Master with whom we work. In the end, we realize we are just co-workers with God in the projects we are undertaking.

God desires our healing, our well-being, and our happiness more than we can imagine. At the same time, God expects us to do our part especially in believing and trusting that God can do all things. There may be obstacles, doubts, and fears, as Jairus and the woman in the Gospel show, but if we do not allow ourselves to be overcome by them, then the power of Jesus effects the miracle we desire and brings us new life and hope.

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.