Prayer of the day captures the theme:
O Christ for whom we search,
our help when help has failed:
give us courage to expose our need
and ask to be made whole,
that, being touched by you,
we may be raised to new life in the power of your name. Amen.
Today’s texts address the reality of human suffering: lives lost in battle, the debilitating cost of chronic disease, the death of a child, the cry of despair.
The readings that have been set for this week are deeply challenging, but they go to the heart of the Gospel.
God comes to those in pain with healing and grace, restoring life and hope, offering the abundance of steadfast love, bringing peace to troubled souls.
This is the vision of living in shalom, a world of God’s peace, where all find healing and peace and where everyone has enough to thrive.
In response to God’s amazing gifts, we are called to build that community as we live generous lives, offering from our abundance, that others might simply live.
In the Old Testament reading for this week, we see David’s surprising response to the news that Saul, the king of Israel, and his son, Jonathan, have both died.
David’s grief over Jonathan is understandable – they were very close friends – but Saul had become his enemy and had tried on many occasions to kill him.
David’s grief over his enemy, and the love it reveals, is a challenging reflection of the Gospel call to forgive and love our enemies.
In the Gospel we see Jesus serving two very different people.
In the first case a woman who had been struggling with vaginal bleeding for twelve years secretly touched him.
She had been “unclean” and unable to worship for all that time, and anything she touched became unclean.
That’s why she tried to hide – she had defiled Jesus!
But Jesus insisted that she show herself to ensure that everyone knew she was now clean.
Then, in his “unclean” state, Jesus raised the dead daughter of the synagogue leader, Jairus.
Poor and excluded, rich and included – Jesus helps them both.
And both had much to lose by accepting Jesus’ compassion.
Jairus could have lost his position in the synagogue, and the woman could have ended up in real trouble if Jesus or the crowd had become angry.
But both, by being willing to risk being served, are healed.
Imagine, for a moment, what the world would be like if we each adopted these inclusive, gracious attitudes – even if only with those in our immediate vicinity!
GOSPEL: Mark 5:21-43
Reflect: In today’s reading we discover that Jesus has a very
different way of being in the world.
To begin with, he seems to feel no time pressure or peer pressure.
Although he has been told the little girl is dying, he still stops when he feels the woman touch him.
In spite of his disciples’ frustration, he insists that she show herself.
He does this so that she is healed but also – by showing everyone that she is clean – included again.
Today, many people are vaguely familiar with Jesus, but nothing in their lives is changed or bettered by this passing acquaintance.
It is only faith that releases God’s healing power.
Move beyond curiosity.
Reach out to Christ in faith.
That touch will change your life forever.
Imagine, Jairus’ frustration, though, as this is happening.
Imagine his anger when he hears that his daughter has died while they were dealing with this unclean woman.
But Jesus is unperturbed by the ticking of the clock even though it means he doesn’t get to the little girl in time to stop her dying.
Somehow Jesus knows that with God there is always time to serve, to care and to heal.
Jairus’s crisis made him feel confused, afraid, and without hope.
Jesus’ words to Jairus in the midst of crisis speak to us as well: “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
In Jesus there is both hope and promise.
The next time you feel hopeless and afraid, look at your problem from Jesus’ point of view.
Then don’t be afraid; just have faith.
The mourners laughed at Jesus when he said, “The child is not dead but asleep.”
The girl was dead, but Jesus used the image of sleep to indicate that her condition was temporary and that she would be restored.
Jesus tolerated the crowd’s abuse in order to teach an important lesson about maintaining hope and trust in him.
- Leader of a synagogue
- Most likely wealthy
- Recognises and has faith in Jesus’ authority over life and death
- Breaking Bad (Anywhere but America Version) by Christopher Keelty: https://www.christopherkeelty.com/breaking-bad-outside-us/
- Hemorrhaging for 12 years – perpetually unclean (unable to even enter the synagogue)
- “Jewish Law distinguished between a menstruating woman and a woman with an irregular, continuous flow of blood; Mark here refers to the latter. All cause ritual impurity…whether such ritual impurity-an issue not mentioned in the text-would have mattered to a local village, where access to the Temple is not an issue, is not clear.” Lawrence M. Wills, “Mark”, Jewish Annotated New Testament, p. 80
- Poor – spent all she had
- Suffering under care of physicians and her condition is worse
- Because she had heard about Jesus…
- Who has heard about Jesus because of you, your church, your actions, your social media…
- Recognises and has faith in Jesus ability to healJairus and the woman are seeming opposites – but they both believe in Jesus
What does this say about God? God is not interested in wealth, power, cultural patriarchy or social order – God cares about binding up the broken
Jairus professes his faith outwardly and the woman silently – yet both receive healing.
The woman “steals” Jesus power – she takes it without his permission, but she is not rebuked because the healing power and authority of Jesus is of God
How might we respond to those in need with our gifts – if all we have is truly from God, then what is it to give someone hope and healing?
Today, take time to listen to the promptings in your own heart, and to the genuine needs of people around you, and allow what you hear to lead you into compassion and care.
Pray: My ears are open, O God, to hear and respond to you and to the needs of others
This is the challenge we face this week.