The priest this morning started his homily describing how in today’s gospel, Mark 5: 21-43, the daughter of Jarius was ill. Actually she was dying. I can hear the barker now: Ring the bell the battle begins Death vs. Life. Who will win!
A woman in the crowd is suffering. She bled for 12 years. She was dying. If only I can touch the hem. She stretches, reaching out in complete faith. There finally the touch. Healing courses through her body, Jesus feels the power leave. He feels the faith. He feels the healing of another human. [Mark 5:25-30]
Jesus asks for her. I have to believe he knew her. He could have pointed her out. But she comes to him trembling and afraid. She knows this man is God made flesh. Instead of meeting condemnation she receives his blessing. Our God says to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” [Mark 5:31-34]
Round 1: Life wins!
Our story is not over, another life hangs at risk in the battle. Jarius is told his daughter has died, why trouble the Teacher any longer.
Jesus, the Teacher, hears the conversation and tells Jarius “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” [Mark 5:35-36] What does Jarius choose?
Round 2: Death wins!
The scripture does not say who Jarius listened to, his people or God. His grief was so great that he had sought out Jesus and fell at his feet, begging Jesus to heal his dying daughter. [Mark 5:22-23] I like to think Jesus just kept walking towards Jarius’ home. That’s where they were headed anyway. And Jarius with a strong steadfast faith in God ignored everything following Jesus.
That is how I want myself to be, banishing doubts and trusting God to perform the miracles. I know me and I would have faltered. I would have been torn between reality and faith. I would have tried to figure it out in my head. Here’s what I miss, God is so beyond everything we know, try as I might; I am not going to figure Him out! This is where faith appears in my life.
I would have eventually followed my Lord. But unlike my interpretation of Jarius’ actions I would have been swallowed into the crowd and had a hard time catching up. As I write this post I realize; this is how I get “lost in the crowd” or the business of my day. I need to learn Jarius’ lesson here: Keep your faith strong and ready! Stick with God for the duration. Once you ask for his help you cannot falter. The battle has begun. Like a captain whose ship is tossed by the storm, you must keep a steady hand on the wheel and stay the course. With God that course is faith, deep and steadfast.
In verses 41-42 Jesus says to Jarius’ daughter “Little girl, I say to you, arise! The girl, a child of about twelve, arose immediately and walked around.” The woman and the daughter were healed in the same day by the same man, the same God.
There it is. Even death cannot win against God.
Round 3: It’s a Knockout! With life, God Wins!
This morning the Priest said it best when he ended his homily with: “Do not be afraid, just have faith.”
P.S: The priest noted the woman was sick for 12 years and the girl healed was 12 years old. I thought wow I never saw that connection before. I also noted both women are called “daughters.” Jarius cries, “My daughter.” and Jesus says “Daughter, your faith has saved you.” I don’t know what these connections mean to me yet. When I find out I’ll being a’ bloggin’ about it! (BTW I was reading the New American Bible Revised Edition)