Don’t Be Afraid! Just have Faith!
The Gospel According to Saint 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.
I think of my death often. We combat veterans often meditate on what it would mean to lay down our lives for a friend or our country. As we approach the independence day of the United States of America, our country is full of stories of men and woman who have done just that; died suddenly for our country.
I imagine it is much easier to experience my own death, rather than the death of someone I loved. Jairus is desperate. He and his wife love their little girl (Talitha), who is holding onto life by a precious and vulnerable thread. However, if his little girl had not been so sick, he may have never met Jesus on that fateful day. The pain of his heart was unbearable. If his daughter died, Jairus would certainly die to this world. His life would be crushed, empty of meaning and joy.
Jairus teaches us to pray.
When we come to Jesus, we must be honest with the truth in our being and soul. We need to know without a doubt that God is truly our father and mother. God will do anything, and I mean anything, to bring us back to health and life. Jesus is our father. He offers His life for ours. When he does go with Jairus, we begin to see how he breaks all the set rules. People with blood diseases can’t touch another person, especially a religious person, without making them impure and unable to do “good works.” Jesus could have kept it quiet after the woman who had been sick for 12 years was healed by touching his tassel. But he let the whole crowd know that he was technically made impure by her touch. What possessed Jesus to do this?
Love alone possessed Jesus. Jesus is attempting to teach us that no one is impure. All are children of God. We are all brothers and sisters. Our faith has everything to do with our own healing and the healing of those we love. Through this woman, Jesus was teaching Jairus to have greater faith. Jesus was depending on Jairus to be a crucial part of his daughter’s rising from the dead.
When Jesus 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. (This is similar to the Transfiguration in chapter 9 when God spoke to Peter, James and John; “This is my beloved son, listen to him.”) 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. (If we truly follow Jesus and pick up our sacred and difficult cross, we will be ridiculed just like Jesus. Can you be a steward of this ridicule?) Then Jesus put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother (Jesus was depending on the parent’s faith to bring about this rising and healing.) 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.
Wow! What a story! What do you think happened to Jairus and his wife after that? With the faith of the parents, what other healings did they bring about? I wonder if that little girl became one of the greatest martyrs of the Church? You see, many of us are walking dead. Jesus is attempting to bring us back to health and life. It only takes faith. There is no life without Jesus. NONE!
Mother Teresa of Calcutta always prayed:
The fruit of silence is prayer.
The fruit of prayer is faith.
The fruit of faith is love.
The fruit of love is service.
The fruit of service is peace.
When Jesus finds a person with great faith, that person becomes a great instrument of love, service, and peace. However, the person who does bring about healing will eventually be persecuted and rejected and ridiculed. We are not greater than our Master. We are merely servants of a compassionate and loving God who is the Father, Mother and Servant of All.
Isn’t this great news?
I am the woman desperately attempting to touch the tassel of Jesus. I am terrified when Jesus asks who touched him. People have told me I am not worthy to be in the presence of Jesus, but I am dead without him. He looks at me with love. Jesus encourages me, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”
I am Jairus when I receive the news that my daughter has died. I am ashamed I waited too long to ask Jesus to come into my life and heal my little girl. This moment is more torturous than death itself. But Jesus puts his hand on my shoulder and says, “Do not be afraid, just have faith.”
I am the little girl, Talitha. I am total coldness and darkness. My hand is being grasped with ultimate love. I hear a voice: “Talitha koum!”
My room is filled with love and joy. My mother, father, and all my brothers and sisters are dancing! I am unsure of the dance steps, but Jesus grasping my hand invites me to the Dance of Love, Joy and Peace!
May your day be truly a celebration of your independence from fear, terror, slavery to sin, and oppression. May your day be a day of celebration and a Spirit of Fire Works that light up the sky.
“Do not be afraid. Just have faith!”
Love, joy, peace,
Father Ron Moses +