Gospel – 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 and pressed upon 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 Jesus,
“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.

Reflection on the Gospel

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

Once when I was a child, I hit my elbow against a chair in our home. I ran to my mom and cried, “Mom, I broke my arm.” She immediately looked at my arm and saw that it was not broken. She gave me a big hug and said, “Son, you hit your funny bone, and this does hurt, but you have not broken your arm.” All of us children knew that mom loved us, and so she was the first one to go to in time of need or pain. We are always drawn to those who love us. The people who came to Jesus for healing knew that Jesus loved them. They knew that all they had to do is ask him, and he would do what he could to help them. He spread love around. He showed in action what love can do. His main command to his followers was and is to love one another, but also to love your enemies, and do good to them.

Many forget the command to do good to enemies. This is very important because only love will heal those who want to hurt others to get what they want, those who feel it is alright to step on one’s neighbor in order to gain more power, wealth and status. Only love will bring about a change in another. You can try changing others’ behavior by torturing them, causing them pain or even killing them. We see this over and over again in our many wars with other nations. We have been at war for over 18 years with Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria and other countries; and our country still believes by causing harm to its enemies it will cause them to change to be better. We mistakenly believe that our violence against them will heal them of their hatred.

We are led to believe that war is the answer to the problems of the world. Christ told us just the opposite. He told us to do good to all, not hurt or kill them. He not only told them with words, but He showed them by example what love can do. Love heals. It heals the broken heart. It heals the mind and body. Jesus showed that love to all, even those who abused, disrespected, and tortured him. All he asks of us is to believe and do the same as he did. If we do not heed the command of Christ we will always be at war, destroying peoples’ lives.

Jairus, the Synagogue official, had likely not been a fan of Jesus. Jesus often criticized the Jewish clergy for a lack of love for their people, concerned more about following traditions than caring for the people. But in desperation, Jairus came to Jesus asking him to heal his daughter. Certainly Jesus was taken back by this request from someone who likely believed Jesus was a heretic, a phony Messiah deserving of death. Jesus was always willing to forgive, help and be of service to everyone, even the enemy. So he healed the daughter asking that she believe.

Just what did He ask the daughter to believe? Jesus was asking her to believe in the power of love, the changing power of helping another in need. Sometimes we show our disbelief of Jesus and the power of love when we show hatred, disrespect and a lack of concern for those in need.

How many of us have reached out to the victims of war, natural disasters and those who lack water and food? How many of us have taken the time to listen to the sorrows of others? How many of us have tried to stop war and the horrible suffering caused by war? Are we still paying for war, weapons of war, training of our youth to kill and harm the enemy? Do we believe Jesus more than the State?

This quote from Ignazio Salone says it all: “In every period and in whatever society the Supreme Act is to give oneself, to love oneself, to find oneself. You have only what you give.”

Don is a longtime peace activist and member of the Casa Maria Catholic Worker Community in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts – Forever.