As the Gospel opens today, Jesus is in the middle of a demanding crowd. There are a couple of people in the crowd who have special needs from Him. They are both at wits’ end, one with a parent’s ultimate and devastating worry, one with a most bothersome and weakening physical condition. Jairus, a synagogue official a man of means who enjoys good health is watching his twelve-year-old daughter dying; the other, an unnamed woman, has spent all her money on doctors who, for twelve years have not able to cure her illness; and who, because of that condition has been declared “UNCLEAN” and is an outcast of society. Both of these people were united in their suffering, and both fear that if Jesus doesn’t do something, they will have no place else to turn, no one else to go for help.
Both are bold: Jairus throws himself at Jesus’ feet and begs Him to come to cure his daughter. And Jesus consents. The woman, probably somewhere behind Jesus, has nothing to lose and everything to gain. She has heard about Jesus’ cures, but doesn’t want to make a spectacle of herself; yet she believes that if she touches Jesus, she will be healed. “Just to touch His cloths will cure me,” she thinks as she elbows her way through the crowd. She touched Him and was healed.
Jesus welcomed the woman and told her that her faith had saved her. Then Jesus continued on His way with Jairus. Some people from Jairus’s house – bring the bad news and announce that the girl is dead. Jairus was devastated by the announcement, and with tears welling – up in his eyes looked into the eyes of Jesus. “DO NOT BE AFRAID; JUST HAVE FAITH!” As they approach the house, the mourners could be heard crying and wailing, so Jesus directed them to leave the house and took the girl by the hand and told her to get up; “TALITHA KOUM”.
Healing was a priority in the ministry of Jesus as we see in the Gospel. Many people today are also in need of healing. Many people put on false outer shells to hide their loneliness and fear, their illness, and feelings of neglect from others.
These people are crying out to us for acceptance which will heal them. Yet how many times do we meet people who are suffering – suffering the loss of a loved one through death; suffering the news of some devastating disease; suffering the pain of rejection or misunderstanding; suffering from financial worry or the loss of a job. And we pass it off as though it were nothing.
Many people cry out to us for help when they need our time or attention, and we miss the opportunity. Many people cry out to us in their loneliness and fear, and we are unwilling to give our time and our support.
Today in the Gospel, Jesus calls out to each one of us asking us to join Him in the ministry of healing. Both Jairus and the woman in the Gospel were united in their FEAR that if Jesus did not do something about the present situation, they will have no place else to turn; no one else to go to for help. Our efforts of genuine concern to reach out to someone can cure that person from the FEAR that arises from feelings of loneliness, feelings of being neglected and unloved, feelings of being of no importance, and useless.
The words of Jesus today, are so important in our lives and in the lives of those we touch: “DO NOT BE AFRAID BECAUSE I AM WITH YOU.”
Today, with Jairus and the afflicted woman, we ask the Lord to heal us of whatever secret anxiety, sin, or fear we have – so that: we might know the same thrill the woman afflicted for a dozen years experienced, and that we might feel the same wonderment the 12-year-old girl and her family experienced – so that we might truly know and believe that “FEAR IS USELESS; WHAT IS NEEDED IS FAITH.”