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, Ja’irus by name; and seeing him, he fell at his feet,
23 and besought 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, “Tal’itha cu’mi”; 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.
In today’s Gospel we hear two stories of miracles and faith that Mark has intertwined. One story is that of the healing of a long suffering woman and the other, is of the resuscitation of a young girl who has died. Both stories show how faith plays a vital role in Jesus’ saving actions.
The first woman we encounter is a woman who has been hemorrhaging for many years. Because of her condition she was considered unclean according to religious customs, and just by her touch, others would have been deemed unclean as well. Because she suffered for many years, she was probably cut off from society. She would not have been welcome into the homes of others, because everything she touched would be considered unclean. She would even have been unable to worship at the temple. By the time she sets out to follow Jesus in the large crowd, she was desperate for a cure, she was desperate for a miracle. She had followed Him that day and reached out to touch the hem of His garment, saying to herself “If I only touch His garment, I shall be made well.” Jesus immediately felt the healing power that had left Him and healed her. Turning towards her He said “Take heart daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.
Jesus could have continued on without stopping to reproach the woman, but He wanted to make sure that the woman was aware that the power to heal had come from Him and not His garment. It should also be noted that during this time period, many people held onto a superstitious belief that the garments of royalty held special healing powers. Jesus wants to clarify this and does so by stopping to have an exchange with the woman. And even though she may have had a flawed sense of faith, Jesus was able to use the faith she had and cure her. Mark wants to stress this point to us, so that we know, that we understand, it is the faith that healed, even an inadequate faith, and not the fabric that healed.
The second part of this gospel tells of Jairus, a ruler, who sought after Jesus for the healing of his daughter.Even though he is a prominent Jewish leader, he does not care what others think, he humbles himself before Jesus, kneeling before Him, he pleads with Him for all to see. When they arrive at Jairus’ house, Jesus tells them “depart, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping” and they laugh at Him.
This raising of the dead, proves that indeed Jesus is the Messiah, the resurrection and the life. It is precisely because of Jesus, that we are guaranteed our own resurrection from the dead. It is Jesus who turns death into a sleep from which we all can awake.
These two stories show us how powerful our faith can be. We must pray to Jesus so that our own hearts learn to pray in faith. Faith allows us to be true sons and daughters of God. It is possible because God sent His beloved Son to us so we could have the same access to God as our own Father. “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will” (Mk 11:24). Such is the power of prayer and of the faith that does not doubt: “all things are possible to him who believes” (Mk 9:23; cf. Mt21:22).
I ask you then, to have faith in God who “wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:3-4)From the bible we know that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. In John 3:17 we learn that God did not send His Son to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him, and “that we might have life to the full” (John 10:10). Remember, apart from God, you can do nothing, so pray without ceasing and never lose heart, giving thanks to the Lord for all things.