Faith Daily | 31 January 2023
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p533
you have taught us
that all our doings without love are worth nothing:
send your Holy Spirit,
and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love,
the true bond of peace and all virtues,
without which whoever lives is counted dead before you;
Grant this for your Son Jesus Christ’s sake.
GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 5: 21-43
21When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 22Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23and 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.”
24So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32He looked all around to see who had done it. 33But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
35While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” 36But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40And 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. 41He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Mary Rose
This passage records how Jesus healed two women. Jairus’ daughter would have been at the centre of society as her father was one of the leaders of the synagogue and the other woman because of her bleeding would have been on the very margins of society for the last 12 years. We know that Jesus had become famous because of his teaching and also his amazing healing powers and hence wherever he went he was followed by a large crowd; many seeking healing. Why has Mark chosen to record how these two women sought the healing touch of Jesus?
Jairus was a powerful person, but here we see the actions of a desperate father in fear of losing his daughter who is 12 years old, almost of marriageable age. He would have known of Jesus already as his teachings and healing were making the elders of the synagogue nervous! However he does not demand Jesus’ help as he would normally have done but we are told he fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to heal his daughter. Jesus hears his cry for help and goes with him towards his house.
It is while they are on the way that this poor, desperate woman, who had spent all her money on doctors to no avail, comes up behind Jesus and touches his cloak and is healed. She has heard about Jesus and his amazing healing and believes that she only needs to touch his clothes to be cured. Then we are given a great insight into Jesus’ healing power; he feels the power go from him and asks who touched him; much to the amusement of his disciples who can see and feel the press of the crowd! The woman very nervously tells Jesus what she had done to which Jesus replies that it is her faith that has made her well. He tells her to go in peace and be healed of her disease; thus confirming what she had felt.
We are then told people came to tell the leader that his daughter had died and so he didn’t need to bother Jesus. But strangely Jesus tells Jairus not to fear but believe and continues to Jairus’s house taking only his closest friends. Already people had gathered and were crying and lamenting very loudly. Jesus then amazes the crowd of mourners by asking why they are crying since the girl was just sleeping! He then put them outside and taking her parents and his friends went into the girl’s room. Taking her by the hand he tells her to get up and this she does and walks around. We are told, somewhat unnecessarily that they are amazed! He then tells them not to tell anyone and to give the girl something to eat.
To answer the question why these two stories are recorded in great detail:- The most obvious would be that here are two people at opposing ranks in society but Jesus’ healing power is available to both.
The woman who had the haemorrhage had to come from the margins of society to the centre of the crowd and she was making everyone she touched unclean according to Jewish law. Jairus’ daughter had to leave the centre of society through death to receive Jesus’ touch. Each of the touches were forbidden under Jewish law; by touching the woman with the haemorrhaging and the dead body of the girl Jesus would be made unclean but the power of Jesus’ touch is to make that which the law declared as unclean to be clean.
It is interesting how Jesus felt the power leave him when the woman was healed even though he had not seen her. No wonder Jesus seeks solitude and prayer after such encounters.
One commentator sums up this reading by saying - these are not accidental details in Mark’s gospel. Jesus has come to turn the world upside down. The kingdom of God calls the marginalised to be brought into the community and calls the elite and privileged to experience the death of that status so that we can all have life and be made clean. (Steve Thomason 2016).
Heal me, O Lord and I shall be healed; save me and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. Jeremiah 17.14