January 31st, 2023

The Gospel according to Mark (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.

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.


The story from today’s Gospel account is beautifully told in the online series “The Chosen” in season 3, episode 5.  You can find the clips online on YouTube (or you can watch the entire episode via The Chosen app or online).  I watched both scenes mentioned today just as I was writing this reflection. 

Mark, as I’ve observed previously, is a writer of Jesus in action.  It’s the most common theme in his Gospel.  Today, we have two stories that cross over with each other.  Jesus is asked by Jairus to heal his daughter, and while Jesus is on the way there, they encounter the woman with the hemorrhages who is also seeking healing.  The woman is healed and praised for her faith, but the daughter of Jairus dies before Jesus can reach her.  It’s not the end, though, as Jesus reassures Jairus, and ultimately brings his daughter to life again.

So much to unpack!  The bottom line for both stories is faith.  Jairus risked his reputation to rely on Jesus, but he trusted that Jesus was able to help his daughter.  He stuck by that faith, even when told that his daughter had died.  The woman with the hemorrhages trusted, even though she had been disappointed in her search for a cure.  Both received the results they believed in, and we see that the onlookers are “astounded”.  Clearly, their faith was not at the same level as Jairus and the woman’s!

The lesson here is clear: we are called as followers of Jesus to have faith.  We are called to trust in the God we worship that His plan for our lives is the right one, even if it isn’t clear to our human intellect or feelings.  That’s the hardest kind of faith, when it seems to be in vain.  Faith in Jesus is never in vain.  It is the only faith that ultimately brings us to life.   We just have to be willing to go beyond ourselves, and lay everything – our very lives – down at the feet of Jesus.  Trust.  Just trust!

Action for the Day:

If you or someone you know has a need that seems impossible, take time today and offer it to the Lord in prayer.  Trust that God can do things that we mere human beings can’t do.  Have faith, and trust that it will be done for you.

If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below! 

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