When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered round him; and he was by the lake. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.’ So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” He looked all round to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum”, which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Today’s gospel describes two of Jesus’ miracles, one a healing, the other a raising from the dead, during the first months of his public ministry. The miracles probably took place in near the western shore of the Sea of Galilee and Jairus was probably the leader of the synagogue of Capernaum.
We are familiar with both miracles. However, we should note and reflect on the two contrasting approaches to Jesus.
Although many Jews were suspicious about the identity of Jesus and the religious authorities thought he was an imposter, Jairus, leader of a local synagogue, when met Jesus pleaded strongly by falling on his knees and begged Jesus to come to his home and heal his young daughter who was on the point of death. Why he behaved in such a way? Was it because he had faith in Jesus?
The answer to these questions might be negative. Probably, the most likely answer to these questions is that he is the one who, when faces with a calamity, has the good sense to admit that Christ has the supernatural power and begs for its exercise with a public display of humility. Does it sound familiar to us all? Go and reflect how we behave when everything seems sailing smoothly and how we behave when we are facing a calamity, such as the serious illness or dying of our beloved one.
On the way to his home, some messengers met them with the news that the girl was dead and no according to them, there was no purpose in bringing Jesus to the house. They did not believe that Jesus had the power to raise the dead although they might believe he could heal the living. Pay attention to the gospel. It was Jesus who told Jairus not to fear but to believe.
From the behaviours of the crowd in the house, we can sense that the girl was dead without doubt. But Jesus, who took Peter, James and John, as well the father and mother of the girl, entered the room where the girl was laid. They witnessed Jesus raised the girl and they were overcome with amazement.
In parallel with this miracle, is the healing of the woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She is hesitant because she had been ritually impure for years. Thus, her approach is tentative. Jesus is fully attentive to her and commends her faith.
In both miracles, Jesus stresses faith, particularly to have faith when we are suffering as Jairus was suffering from the illness and losing of his daughter and as the woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years.
Suffering is often unearned and always undesired, and above all often we can’t change it. However, Jesus shows us how to bear it with love. Such love radiates and inspires others. We can add that, mysteriously, joy is possible even in suffering, perhaps because suffering brings us so close to God, just like Jairus and the woman suffering from hemorrhages met Jesus in their sufferings. Amen.