Mark 5:21-24, 35-43

After Jesus crossed over by boat, a large crowd met him at the seaside. One of the meeting-place leaders named Jairus came. When he saw Jesus, he fell to his knees, beside himself as he begged, “My dear daughter is at death’s door. Come and lay hands on her so she will get well and live.” Jesus went with him, the whole crowd tagging along, pushing and jostling him.

While he was still talking, some people came from the leader’s house and told him, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher any more?”

Jesus overheard what they were talking about and said to the leader, “Don’t listen to them; just trust me.”

He permitted no one to go in with him except Peter, James, and John. They entered the leader’s house and pushed their way through the gossips looking for a story and neighbours bringing in casseroles. Jesus was abrupt: “Why all this busybody grief and gossip? This child isn’t dead; she’s sleeping.” Provoked to sarcasm, they told him he didn’t know what he was talking about.

But when he had sent them all out, he took the child’s father and mother, along with his companions, and entered the child’s room. He clasped the girl’s hand and said, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, get up.” At that, she was up and walking around! This girl was twelve years of age. They, of course, were all beside themselves with joy. He gave them strict orders that no one was to know what had taken place in that room. Then he said, “Give her something to eat.”

Gospel Reflection

Mark brings two incidents together by inserting one (woman with haemorrhage) into the narrative of the other (Jairus’ daughter). Both stories are gripping and moving, dealing as they do with people in extreme circumstances. The woman has a painful, debilitating illness (apparently incurable) that isolates her from the community because it is considered as making her “impure”. Jairus’ daughter, by the time Jesus reaches her, is already dead. As always, Jesus shows understanding and delicacy (especially in the case of the woman). And his authority over illness and death is supreme.

Note the stress that Jesus places on faith in both stories. To the woman he says: “Daughter, your faith has made you well”. And to Jairus: “Do not fear, only believe”. What does this say to you as you live your life as a Christian today?