Grace to you!
I read the beautiful stories in Mark 5: 21-43, and I’m thrilled by the healing grace, mercy and compassion of the Lord. I’m also captivated by the faith of the two characters (Jarius and the woman suffering from hemorrhage) who were immediate beneficiaries of God’s healing grace. God’s Word in Scripture is refreshing.
The woman had suffered from hemorrhage for over 12 years. She spent all her money seeking medical help without any success. She heard about Jesus. She may have heard he is the messiah or that he has performed signs and wonders from God. What she heard opened her to the gift of faith in the Lord. Her faith grew as she came closer and closer to where Jesus was. “Faith comes by hearing” (Rm 10:17).
She saw Jesus as the crowd followed him. She wasn’t part of the original crowd; nor was she invited into the league. Yet she knew with God, everyone is invited. Whether she showed up in front or behind was irrelevant. From the back would do for what she wanted. Shame or insecurity because of her condition wouldn’t stop her from meeting the Healing Lord. She wouldn’t be stopped even by the crowds following Jesus. She knew exactly what she wanted and knew the key to unlocking the favor she was looking for.
What she wanted was a touch, a touch on that cloth worn by the Savior; or the tassel or fringes (tzitzit) attached to the Jewish prayer shawl (tallit), which a typical Jewish man wears, reminding him of God’s commandments and the call to holiness.
She saw the connection between a “relic” and a person, in this case the connection between Jesus the Lord and what he wore. Whatever the Lord wears is already a source of blessings. This woman’s faith is incredible. It’s inspiring. Love it. I call it faith in the little things that matter because they come from the Lord.
The woman had a target, a goal. She was a believer, not a fan. Many in the crowd were evidently fans, following the crowd of the celebrity. Not for this woman. Her faith paid off because the Lord doesn’t refuse genuine faith. She was healed. Power went out of Jesus.
The second case in this biblical story of Mark 5: 21-43 regards Jarius, a synagogue official. He approaches Jesus, interceding for the healing of his daughter who was sick. Scripture says, Jarius’ daughter was twelve years old (Mk 5:42). What a coincidence that the woman suffering from hemorrhage had been bleeding for twelve years and Jarius’ sick daughter was also twelve years.
Biblical stories are full of symbols—twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve apostles, etc. The number twelve appears at least 187 times in the bible. It speaks of authority, of perfection; and in some ways, it could relate to those men and women across the world, who are the redeemed of the Lord tied to the “perfection’ of the twelve.
When news came that Jarius’ daughter was already dead and that he shouldn’t bother Jesus any longer, Jesus jumped in to reassure Jarius of his providence, and confirm his faith. “Do not be afraid;” the Lord said to him, “just have faith.”
Needless to say, the Lord accompanied Jarius to his home and raised his daughter from the dead; asking them to give her food to eat.
There are many lessons from these two stories. Faith is the key to unlocking the blessings of God. Have faith. Keep faith and see that your salvation is near.
Also, Jarius and the woman who was suffering from bleeding wouldn’t be stopped by the negative news or obstacle. The crowd could have prevented the woman from touching Jesus. She didn’t allow it to happen. Messengers of the bad news about the death of Jarius’ daughter had already suggested he quit, but the Lord reassured him.
Sometimes, the greatest discouragement you get regarding your faith comes from the voice of the crowd or those who do not see the way the Lord sees. Naysayers are all around us. Do not listen to them. To the unwise, the audacity of faith is senseless.
So, what do you do? How do you keep your faith alive and strong? How do you not miss an opportunity of grace or miracle?
Keep an eye on Jesus the Lord. “Looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith...” (Heb 12:2). Such a spiritual attitude keeps you on target and on track to your blessings.
I pray the Lord confirms your faith as he did for Jarius and the woman suffering from hemorrhage. Amen.
God Love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Tuesday Week 4 Ordinary Time B:2 Sm 18:9-10, 14b, 24-25a, 30; 19:3; Mk 5:21-43]
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.