Have you ever experienced a serious and possibly life-threatening illness? If you have, you may understand the pain and desperation of the two main characters in Sunday’s gospel (Mark 5:21-43).
The first character is Jairus, a synagogue leader whose twelve-year-old daughter was dying. The second is an unnamed woman, troubled and exhausted from twelve years of uncontrolled bleeding and from being set aside as unclean.
The despair of sickness and death moved both Jairus and the hemorrhaging woman to a posture of humility. With faith in Jesus’ power to heal, the prestigious synagogue leader falls humbly at Jesus’ feet, pleading for his daughter’s healing. The hemorrhaging woman socially and religiously rejected takes a leap of faith trusting that she would be healed by simply touching Jesus’ cloak.
Both Jairus’ daughter who had died and the bleeding woman were restored to new life by faith in the Son of God.
In the gospel we see Jesus revealed as Lord of Life with complete power over death. Death encroached upon Jairus’ daughter and Jesus declared that she was “sleeping”.
Many in Jesus’ days viewed death as final. By raising Jairus’ daughter Jesus demonstrated that death was not final. Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
The raising of Jairus’ daughter foreshadows the focal point of the New Testament: Jesus’ own death and resurrection. Jesus rose never more to die. He is indeed the Holy One of God who has conquered death and will restore us to new and everlasting life.
In response to this amazing revelation, we are all called to deepen our life of faith, to “die to self,” surrendering our wills to God’s will to receive new life, just as Jairus surrendered his status as a prestigious religious leader and the hemorrhaging woman surrendered her fear of social and religious rejection.
Prayer: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed that you are the holy one of God.” (John 6:68-69) May we open ourselves to you in faith, that we may arise to new life. Amen.