13th Week in Ordinary Time.
“Do not be afraid; only have faith.” Mark 5:36
These words from the Lord come during a dramatic episode in the Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ, who is the Eternal Son of God in flesh on earth and which shows us that Jesus is the Master of life and death.
Jesus had had a very busy day. First of all we see Him crossing the lake of Tiberius (the Sea of Galilee) where He met lots of people who were gathered at the lakeshore to see Him to receive teaching and healing from Him. While He was there, Jairus, an official from the local synagogue, begged Jesus on his knees to come and heal his little daughter who was very ill and close to death. Jesus goes with him. Later, we read and hear about a woman who is part of the crowd who are walking with Jesus to Jairus’ home. She was a desperate lady who had been suffering chronic bleeding for 12 years. In an act of faith, she reached out and touched the fringe of Jesus cloak and saying to herself ‘If I just touch His clothes, I will get well.’ Jesus knew immediately that some of His power and healing strength had gone from Him and the woman’s touch of Him had been discovered. As she knelt at His feet Jesus said, “My daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your trouble.” Mk 5:34. On doing so, she was made completely well and her serious condition healed.
In the meantime, while all this was happening, messengers came to tell Jairus that his daughter had sadly died. Jesus said the words to Jairus which we began our reflection with today “Do not be afraid, only have faith.” Mk 5:36. Jesus goes on to raise Jairus daughter to life again much to the wonder and astonishment of all who had seen this happen. Did you know that throughout the whole of the Bible the phrase “do not be afraid” is mentioned 365 times? That’s one encouragement per day and it reminds us that our Lord asks us to have complete trust in Him!
So, what can we learn and grow from in these two accounts from Mark’s Gospel? Well, Mark’s Gospel shows Jesus as a man of action and He acts, speaks and lives with the Authority of the Father and these words and actions bring to earth the Father’s Kingdom. Jesus, who is Almighty God, came among us as a Man to set us free. He came from the Father’s Heart to show us how to live but He came expressly to undo all the works of the Devil, Satan, by His living, dying and rising again. Jesus is the embodiment of the Father’s Heart of Mercy, Love and Forgiveness and His actions in healing the woman and raising Jairus daughter to life proves He is Master and Lord yet He has a tender, compassionate and gracious Heart.
Death and sickness has not come from God. God created all and He is the source of all that is good. All life comes from His Hands. Healing, love, restoration and peace come from Him. He is the God of the Living and the Lord of Life Itself. He does not delight in the death of anyone for He seeks all to come to Him and receive the light of life through the merits of Jesus His Son which is friendship with Him forever. God created us to be with Him forever and enjoy His love, grace and company as children of the same Heavenly Father. Jesus His Son came to show us the abundant life that the Father wishes to give to us all. Our selfishness and our sin, our turning away from God, brought great unhappiness in the world which resulted in sickness, disease, suffering, sorrow and death. Jesus, out of His great Love for the Father and for us chose to taste sorrow and death for all people and restore us to life eternal when He willingly and freely gave His life in His sufferings and death on the Cross so we might have eternal life in heaven with Him.
These stories in scripture can give us hope especially if we, or a loved one is in need of healing and restoration. They point us towards Jesus as being the source of all healing, resurrection and eternal life if we are mourning the loss of a loved one taken from us in death and we long to see them again in heaven. Our Loving God knows all what we are and all what we need. Let us turn to Him and place our total trust in His love and care for us.
Our prayer this week was written by Monsignor Michael Buckley and it reflects our readings. Let us remember those who are sick and those who have died recently. May the sick get well and may the departed rest in God’s peace.
God, our Father, You sent Your only Son Jesus on earth to heal a broken-hearted and wounded world. He had compassion on those who called on Him for help and healing. He touched the sick and guilt-laden, and they walked away in health and freedom of spirit. Visit us now with His saving power so that we too may be released in mind and body to praise Your healing grace through Christ, our Lord. Amen.