GOSPEL READING: Mark 5:21-43
21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him; and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and seeing him, he fell at his feet, 23 and begged him, saying, “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.” 24 And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well.”29 And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, `Who touched me?'” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had been done to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, he saw a tumult, and people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a tumult and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But 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. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi”; which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”42 And immediately the girl got up and walked (she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Meditation: Do you approach the Lord Jesus with expectant faith or with skeptical doubt? People in desperate or helpless circumstances were not disappointed when they sought Jesus out. What drew them to Jesus? Was it hope for a miracle or a word of comfort in their affliction? What did the elderly woman who had suffered miserably for twelve years expect Jesus to do for her? And what did a grieving father expect Jesus to do for his beloved daughter who was at the point of death? Jesus gave hope where there seemed to be no human cause for it because his hope was directed to God. He spoke words of hope to the woman (Take heart, daughter!) to ignite the spark of faith in her (your faith has made you well!).
Expectant faith believes in Jesus’ power to act in our lives today
Ephrem the Syrian (306-373 AD), an early church Scripture scholar and author of hymns and commentaries, reflected on the miracle of the woman who was healed of her flow of blood:
“Glory to you, hidden Son of God, because your healing power is proclaimed through the hidden suffering of the afflicted woman. Through this woman whom they could see, the witnesses were enabled to behold the divinity that cannot be seen. Through the Son’s own healing power his divinity became known. Through the afflicted women’s being healed her faith was made manifest. She caused him to be proclaimed, and indeed was honored with him. For truth was being proclaimed together with its heralds. If she was a witness to his divinity, he in turn was a witness to her faith… He saw through to her hidden faith, and gave her a visible healing.”
The Lord Jesus will touch each of us with his healing hands of love and mercy
Jesus also gave supernatural hope to a father who had just lost a beloved child. It took considerable courage and risk for the ruler of a synagogue to openly go to Jesus and to invite the scorn of his neighbors and kin. Even the hired mourners laughed scornfully at Jesus. Their grief was devoid of any hope. Nonetheless, Jesus took the girl by the hand and delivered her from the grasp of death. Peter Chrysologus (400-450 AD), an early church father who was renowned for his preaching at Ravena, comments on this miracle:
“This man was a ruler of the synagogue, and versed in the law. He had surely read that while God created all other things by his word, man had been created by the hand of God. He trusted therefore in God that his daughter would be recreated, and restored to life by that same hand which, he knew, had created her… He [Jesus] who laid hands on her to form her from nothing, once more lays hands upon her to reform her from what had perished.”
In both instances we see Jesus’ personal concern for the needs of others and his readiness to heal and restore life. In Jesus we see the infinite love of God extending to each and every individual as he gives freely and wholly of himself to each person he meets. Do you approach the Lord with confident expectation that he will hear your request and act?
1 Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
2 Preserve my life, for I am Godly; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God;
3 be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day.
4 Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.
6 Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; hearken to my cry of supplication.
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: The long-suffering of parents, by Peter Chrysologus (400-450 AD)
“Let us, if it is pleasing to you, speak for a moment of the pains and anxieties which parents take upon themselves and endure in patience out of love and affection for their children. Here, surrounded by her family and by the sympathy and affection of her relations, a daughter lies upon her bed of suffering. She is fading in body. Her father’s mind and spirit are worn with grief. She is suffering the inward pangs of her sickness. He, unwashed, unkempt, is absorbed wholly in sorrow. He suffers and endures before the eyes of the world. She is sinking into the quiet of death… Alas! why are children indifferent to these things! Why are they not mindful of them? Why are they not eager to make a return to their parents for them? But the love of parents goes on nevertheless; and whatever parents bestow upon their children, God, the parent of us all, will duly repay.” (excerpt from SERMON 33.2)
[Peter Chrysologus, 400-450 AD, was a renowned preacher and bishop of Ravena in the 5th century]