13 Sunday B: Talitha Kum: Healing is a Compassionate Ministry

Sickness and death have a way of shearing through the veneer of our self-importance and social status. These things touch us at our most vulnerable point. Sickness and death strip us of our illusions and remind us that, no matter how important we are in the eyes of others, we are still human—still very limited and transient citizens here on earth.
Notice the brutal directness used by those telling Jairus about his daughter’s death—you’ve no need to trouble the Master any more, she’s dead. They are like the apostles in the boat, who doubt Jesus’ ability to calm the storm.
He didn’t care if the woman had a situation which would have caused the temple priests to call Him defiled. He didn’t care if curing a person would get Him in trouble with the authorities if that cure was on the Sabbath. He didn’t care if He had to drop everything and rush to the bedside of what the world would see as an insignificant little girl, enduring mockery in the process. Jesus  was only concerned about those who hurt and who needed his healing. How can we be any different and still call ourselves His followers?
With all its imperfections, sins, blemishes, and warts, the Church of Jesus Christ is the intended healer of the world's wounds. Christians are called to be compassionate, wounded healers.
Perhaps, Henri Nouwen, the Roman Catholic theologian, has said this better than anyone else. The author of many books, Nouwen speaks of Christians as "wounded healers" who have compassion.

Henri Nouwen
Compassion is not pity. Pity lets us stay at a distance. It is condescending.
Compassion is not sympathy. Sympathy is for superiors over inferiors.
Compassion is not charity. Charity is for the rich to continue in their status over the poor.
Compassion is born of God. It means entering into the other person's problems. It means taking on the burdens of the other. It means standing in the other person's shoes. It is the opposite of professionalism. It is the humanizing way to deal with people. "Just as bread without love can bring war instead of peace, professionalism without compassion will turn forgiveness into a gimmick."
This is a power all the money in the world does not give
This is a power all the knowledge in the world does not give
This is a power all the leaders in the world does not possess
This is a power all the armies in the world can’t muster
This is not reserved for the healthy; This is not reserved for the wealthy; This is not reserved for the wise; This is not reserved for the famous

 Michel DeVerteuil 
J and daughter of Jairus

General Comments
Today’s gospel comprises two distinct stories with no particular connection between them so you should decide to meditate on one or the other.
– there is the raising of Jairus’s daughter to life, which by a peculiar arrangement is told in two separate sections (verses 21 to 24, and 35 to 43);
– and there is he healing of he woman with the haemorrhage (verses 25 to 43).
Remember that the miraculous cures by Jesus, while they record historical facts, are also lessons in how God works and invites us to enter with gratitude into his work of grace in our own lives and in the world today.

Scripture Prayers
Lord, we thank you for Alcoholics Anonymous;
this great organization reminds us that to experience resurrection
from the dead, all of us, even if we are important officials,
we have to come to the point where we are no longer in control
and fall at the feet of someone greater than ourselves, pleading for help
and allowing ourselves to be carried along by a community.
God's power
Lord, we thank you for the great moments of grace in our lives:
– we had struggled for years to give up a relationship that was harming us;
– we went through months of depression;
– we wanted very much to forgive but hurt was still eating us up.
We tried all kinds of remedies, got advice from many people,
without getting any better; in fact we were getting worse.
But there came a time when somehow or other
we knew deep down that all we needed was a little push,
a wise word, someone praying for us, a liturgy –
and sure enough, it happened.
It was all so simple that people around us could not understand,
but we were able to come forward, frightened and trembling
because we knew what had happened,
and we humbly told the whole truth. Thank you, Lord.
Lord, it sometimes happens that we help people without realizing it.
Some word we say, some gesture we make, and they are deeply touched.
At such times we tend to be condescending toward the people we helped.
We pray that we may be more like Jesus,
so that when we become aware of what has happened
we speak gently to them, encourage them to tell their story,
assure them that it was their faith that restored them to health,
and help them to go in peace, fully free of their complaint,touched by God himself.
Lord, we pray for leaders, in our country and in the world,
leaders of church and civil communities,
especially those whose communities are disillusioned or in despair.
As they go along, they will hear some people telling them
that things are too far gone
and there is no point putting themselves to further trouble;
they will see people weeping and wailing unrestrainedly,
and if they say that the community is not dead but merely sleeping,
many will laugh at them.
But they must ignore all these voices
and surround themselves with people of faith and love,
so that they can take their communities by the hand
and tell them to get up and walk.
Lord, we thank you for kind, practical people like Jesus,
people who, when others are weeping and wailing unrestrainedly,
can see that the one being mourned is not dead but asleep,
and who, when others are all excited that a great miracle has been worked,
will tell them not to talk about it,
but to give the person healed something to eat.
 Thomas O’Loughlin
Introduction to the Celebration
Jesus and woman with hem
Every Sunday is a little ‘Easter Sunday’: because Jesus rose on Sunday, triumphant over death, we gather on Sundays. We gather to rejoice and celebrate his meal: he died, yet he lives; he has departed from us, yet also he is here among us.
To celebrate that Jesus rose from the dead is to celebrate that in him is our victory over suffering, pain, and death itself.
In proclaiming that the Father raised Jesus from the dead, we are stating our conviction that all those parts of life that strike us as absurd and destructive are not part of the Father’s will for us:
death is not of God’s doing, and the Father has sent among us a healer who restores us to the fullness of life.
Jesus is risen, Jesus is amongst us, let us rejoice.
Note: The alternative form of the Opening Prayer (‘Father in heaven … ‘) is more appropriate today.

Homily Notes
1. The simple didactic homily has been the bed-rock of preaching down the centuries. In the last few decades it has fallen into an unmerited obscurity partly because the meditation / reflection sermon has gained a new prominence, partly because the ‘challenge of discipleship’ style has been seen as a way of showing up the radical nature of the gospel, and partly as we have moved to more exegetical style homilies. Today, we have a very structured unit of Mark’s preaching and it was formulated by him with close attention to how fear acts on us as human beings. Because it grasps attention so well, it can be followed with a little bit of didache such as this:
2. This story makes visible for us three of our basic beliefs as disciples of Jesus.
First, that the Son of God, the Lord is one with us, he knows ‘from the inside our fears’ and anxieties, our needs, our nature. God, for us Christians, is not thought of as some far-off energy or power, he has come close to us in a human individual: Jesus.
We can paraphrase the creed like this:
• For us human beings and our health and well-being
• he has come down from heaven,
• and by the power of the holy Spirit has become a man
• who was named Jesus.
victory by the power of God
victory by the power of God
Second, we look to Jesus as the source of healing, of forgiveness, of reconciliation, and of hope.
Jairus and that woman — both making requests of Jesus because of their desperate situation — are typical of all of us who call upon him in our need.
We believe that Jesus is with us and one with us, we call on him for mercy and healing and forgiveness.
We acknowledge Jesus as
• the one who brings us healing: we call him ‘the divine physician’
• the one who brings us forgiveness: we call him ‘our redeemer’
• the one who brings us peace: we call him ‘the prince of peace.’
That is why we who are his disciples get involved with:
• helping and caring for the sick
• promoting understanding and reconciliation
• working as peace makers.
Third, Jesus is the one who has risen from the dead and shares his resurrection with us.
Jesus has conquered sin and death:
• that is why we are the people of the resurrection
• that is why we gather on Sunday to celebrate
• that is why we are the people of the good news.
Sean Goan
Gospel Notes
There are two miracle stories in this quite long extract from Mark and they demonstrate an important theme and characteristic of this gospel. The first thing we notice is that the story of the raising of the daughter of Jairus begins the sequence, but then is cut off as we consider the woman with the haemorrhage. It is sometimes referred to as a sandwich technique and it is a characteristic of Mark, used to hold our interest as he develops an idea by means of two different stories. fearless
It quickly becomes apparent that the overarching theme is the need for faith. In the story of the woman, her willingness to trust in Jesus is total but by contrast the people in the house of Jairus laugh at him when he suggests the child is only asleep. Jesus tells the woman who touched him that her faith made her well, and to the people announcing the news of the death of the little girl he says: ‘Do not be afraid, only have faith.’ We have only already learned through the preaching of Jesus and his parables that the kingdom is present in his ministry and that it is both a gift and a challenge. Living by faith is the challenge but it is also the way to healing and new life for those who embrace the message with trust and confidence.
Prayer Reflections
Lord, we thank you reminding us that to experience resurrection from the dead, all of us, even if we are important people in society or in the church we have to come to the point where we are no longer in control and fall at the feet of someone greater than ourselves, pleading for help and allowing ourselves to be carried along by a community.
Lord, we thank you for the great moments of grace in our lives:
- we had struggled for years to give up a relationship that was harming us;
- we fought hard and long to kick the bottle
- we went through months of depression;
- we wanted very much to forgive but hurt was still eating us up.
-We tried all kinds of remedies, got advice from many people, without getting any better; in fact we were getting worse.
But there came a time when somehow or other we knew deep down that all we needed was a little push, a wise word, someone praying for us, a mass - and sure enough, it happened.
It was all so simple that people around us could not understand, but we were able to come forward, frightened and trembling because we knew what had happened, and we humbly told the whole truth. Thank you, Lord.
From the Connections:
Mark holds up both Jairus and the unnamed woman in today’s Gospel as models of faith.  The message of the two healings is clear:  “Do not be afraid; have faith.”
The chronically ill woman is so convinced that Jesus not only can help her but will help her that she fights her way through the pushing and shoving crowds just to touch the cloak of Jesus.  She realizes not only the power of Jesus to heal her but the depth of his love and compassion to want to heal her.  Her faith is rewarded.
Jairus was a man of considerable authority and stature in the Jewish community.  Yet, for the sake of his daughter, he puts aside his pride and his instinctive distrust of an “anti-establishment” rabbi like Jesus and becomes a “beggar” for her before Jesus.  Despite the ridicule of the mourners and the depth of his despair, Jesus is Jairus’ hope.
Like the wailing mourners at the little girl’s bedside, we sometimes resign ourselves to defeat as the regular order of things, to death as the logical conclusion.  In the healings of Jairus’ daughter and the hemorrhaging woman, Jesus shows us the life and hope we can bring into our world through the providence of God and the goodness everyone possesses.
Jairus’ love for his daughter enables him to risk his considerable standing in the community to approach the controversial rabbi Jesus.  Through such complete and unconditional love – like the love of God our Father for us, his children – we can lift up the fallen, heal the sick and suffering and restore life to the dead.
The sick woman realizes not only the power Jesus possesses but also the depth of his compassion and love for her.  To possess her depth of faith compels us to seek God and realize God's presence – especially when God seems most absence.
The hemorrhaging woman counts for little in the social structure of her time; her problems and illness elicit neither concern nor care from those around her.  Her hemorrhages, in fact, mark her as unclean, someone to be avoided.  But the “power” of Jesus transcends the woman’s isolation.  Our embracing of that same compassion and peace enables us to seek out the needy, the lost and despairing in our midst.

 A 'driving-purposed' life
As a young woman, she prayed that God would give her a grand purpose in life.

God answered by giving her two daughters and a set of car keys.  "Drive," God said.

And drive she did.  In her red Ford Tempo, she drove her girls and their friends everywhere - to the mall and to volleyball practice.  To softball games and the mall.  To youth group at church and the mall.  To the beach.  To Taco Bell.  To school.  To the mall.

It was either she drive them or risk them finding rides with someone's sister's boyfriend.  As long as her daughters and their myriad of friends were in the backseat of her car with her at the wheel, she would know where they were.

And she loved it.  It actually proved to be quite educational - she learned she could be invisible.  The girls would pile into her car and start talking about stuff girls talk about, which meant boys and other girls.  You can learn a lot by being invisible.  During her years of driving girls, her car was used as a cafeteria, a beauty parlor, a dressing room, and sometimes as a confessional and a sanctuary.

Something amazing happened when her little red Tempo filled with girls.

God entered.

Did the girls ever realize God in the car?  Sometimes, she thinks: every once in a while they would ask her a question about God, about faith, about Ouija boards, about levitating.  They discussed Buddhism, paganism and Marilyn Manson.  And there were times when they even prayed out loud together.

Not long ago, the mother of her daughter's childhood best friend called to thank her for what she had done for her daughter Kelly, who died from leukemia at the age of 21.  Kelly's mom was thanking her for much more than providing car service for Kelly.

Now that her daughters are grown, she misses her "driving-purposed" life.  It was mundane and ordinary, yet incredibly holy.

[From “A driving-purposed life” by Nancy Kennedy, Catholic Digest, April 2009.]
Moms and Dads know that parenthood is a full-time vocation that demands everything we have and are for the sake of the children who depend on them.  Jairus, in today’s Gospel, is a model of such dedicated parenthood.  As a leader of the synagogue, Jairus is an establishment figure, to be sure - but  grasping at one last thread of hope to save his daughter, Jairus’ love for her enables him to risk his standing in the community to plead with the controversial rabbi to work one more miracle.  Through such complete and unconditional love – like the love of God the Father for us, his sons and daughters – we can lift up the fallen, bring healing to the suffering, and restore life to the dead.

Fr. Jude Botelho:

Today's first reading ponders over the human condition. Surely God takes no pleasure in the extinction of the living, he does not desire the death of human beings. Yes, we all know our limits, we know that all men die and that death entered the world due to sin. But God is stronger than death and those who believe in Him can hope for life, new life in this world and in the next. Our hope arises from the fact that we are made in the image of God who is the giver of life. But do we nurture life, do we collaborate with God or do we expect Him to do everything for us without fulfilling our part?

 Palmerstone North Evening Standard

When I was in New Zealand in 1973 I read this fascinating comment in a newspaper article by the Director of Radiotherapy and Radiology in that country: 'Cancer makes people start thinking of their lives. Everything they do has a keener edge on it and they get more out of life. In fact, some people never became complete human beings and really start living until they get cancer. We all know we are going to die some time, but cancer makes people face up to it. They are going to go on living with a lot of enjoyment, just because they have faced the fear of death. Cancer patients aren't dying. They are living. I have never seen a suicide because of cancer.'
Anthony Castle in 'Quotes and Anecdotes'

Today's gospel describes the healing power of Jesus as he reveals God's power at work restoring life and health through his healing touch. Both the faith of the woman suffering for twelve long years, and the faith of Jairus who was about to lose his daughter are stressed. Both incidents have much to teach us about faith helping us to go beyond. Jairus, the leader of the synagogue, came to Jesus begging for a cure for his daughter. Jairus' request showed that he believed that Jesus possessed a supernatural power. He came in humility and Jesus acceded to his request and set out for his house. While they were on their way the news came that his daughter had died. The messengers suggest that there was no point in troubling Jesus; the case was hopeless. But neither Jairus nor Jesus gives up. Jesus encourages Jairus, "Don't be afraid; only believe." Jesus goes into the child's room with the parents and taking the girl by her hand raises her to life. "Little child I say to you arise." And the child arose and began to walk. The same Jesus brings healing to the woman who suffered for twelve long years, who believed she would be healed if she touched the hem of his garment. But Jesus did not want it to be a quick-fix magical affair. He seeks her from the crowd, and points to her faith. "Your faith has healed you." God can come into our life even through what we consider insignificant and dirty -the hem of the garment!

"I only have a small pan!"
Two men went fishing. One man was an experienced fisherman, the other wasn't. Every time the experienced fisherman caught a big fish, he put it in his ice chest to keep it fresh. Whenever the inexperienced fisherman caught a big fish, he threw it back. The experienced fisherman watched this go on all day and finally got tired of seeing this man waste good fish. "Why do you keep throwing back all the big fish you catch?" he asked. The inexperienced fisherman replied, "I only have a small frying pan." Sometimes, like that fisherman, we throw back the big plans, big dreams, big jobs, and big opportunities that God gives us. Our faith is too small. We laugh at that fisherman who didn't figure out that all he needed was a bigger frying pan; yet how ready are we to increase the size of our faith? Whether it's a problem or a possibility, God will never give you anything bigger than you can handle. That means we can confidently walk into anything God brings our way. He can see all things through.

God always answers our prayers
The waters of the dam had burst their banks, and a veritable tidal wave was heading towards the nearest town. The police drove up the main street, calling on all people to vacate their homes and to avail of the transport provided for a quick exit out of town. One man, who knew about the danger, refused the offer, because he has prayed to God and he felt it was now up to God to take care of him. Shortly afterwards, the waters came roaring down the main street, and all ground floors were under water. The man was forced to retreat upstairs. He was at a front window when a boat came by, and the people in the boat tried to persuade him to get in the boat and come with them to safety. Once again, the man insisted that he had asked God to help him, and that God would look after him. After some time the water rose so high that the man was forced to climb up on the roof. Soon a helicopter came along but, once again, he refused the offer of help, because God was going to take care of him. Anyhow, surprise! Surprise! The man drowned. He arrived at the gates of heaven in a very angry and belligerent mood and asked Peter, what happens when someone like him asks for help. This puzzled Peter, who explained that, yes, God always answers prayers. He brought out the logbook of prayer, asked the man his name, and began to check the records. After a while he looked at the man, and said, 'Yes, there is a record here of your prayers. What puzzles me, though, is that there is also a record here of several answers to those prayers. It says here that we sent you the police, a group of people in a boat, and we even sent you a helicopter. Whatever happened to all that help? Didn't they show up?'
Jack McArdle in 'And that's the Gospel truth!'

Receiving in giving
I know a ranch in Colorado at the base of a mountain. From snowfields hundreds of feet above, two streams trickle down and divide. One grows until its waters are caught up by skilled engineers and made to irrigate a thousand ranches. The other runs into a blind valley and spreads into a lake with no outlet. There it poisons itself. In it are the carcasses of cattle who, thirsty and eager, have come to drink of the tainted flood. Some of them still stand upright in the miry bottom, their heads bent into the bitter tide, their flesh falling from their bones. The first lake has an outlet. It loses itself on a mesa and gives drink to the homes of men. The other turns upon itself and kills everything it touches. One loses life and finds it again in generosity. -the other loses life in stagnation, never to find it again.
George Stewart

Merchant of death or life?
About eighty years ago a man picked up the morning paper and, to his horror, read his own obituary! The newspaper had reported the death of the wrong man. Like most of us, he relished the idea of finding out what people would say about him after he died. He read past the bold caption which read, "Dynamic King Dies," to the text itself. He read along until he was taken aback by the description of him as a "merchant of death." He was the inventor of dynamite and had amassed a great fortune from the manufacture of weapons of destruction. But he was moved by this description. Did he really want to be known as a "merchant of death"? It was at that moment that a healing power greater than the destructive force of dynamite came over him. It guided him so that his energy and money moved to works of peace and human betterment. Today, of course, he is best remembered, not as a "merchant of death," but as the founder of the Nobel Peace Prize - Alfred Nobel.

Story to heal
Martin Buber tells the story of his paralyzed grandfather who was asked to relate a story about his great teacher, the famous and holy Baal Shem Tov. The grandfather replied by telling how the holy man used to jump up and down and dance when he was praying. Being swept up in the fervour of the narrative, the grandfather himself stood up and began to jump and dance to show how the master had done it. At that moment the grandfather was completely healed of his paralysis.
Brian Cavanaugh in 'The 'Sower's Seeds'

"Illnesses exist to remind us that we are not made of wood!"(Van Gogh). A painful experience causes us to reflect on our lives, and teaches us to be compassionate towards other sufferers. Compassion is not learnt without suffering.

May we receive life and healing in giving more and more of ourselves to others!

From Fr. Tony Kadavil:

1. “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
Ann Jillian, a three-time Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actress and singer, is an American actress born to Roman Catholic Lithuanian immigrant parents. Since 1985, she has added motivational speaking to her impressive list of credits, addressing business, medical, professional and women's groups with her own unique blend of humor and inspiration. Her prowess extends from the world’s concert halls, to feature film and the Broadway stage. She has starred in over 25 TV movies, and made hundreds of other TV appearances. Her TV movie, The Ann Jillian Story, which recounts her victory over breast cancer, was the #1 film of the TV season, but, more important, it delivered Ann's message about the hopeful side of breast cancer to its millions of viewers. In 1985 the then 35-year-old actress made headlines when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. On her way to the hospital to check the nature of the growth which she had noticed, she stopped at St. Francis de Sales Church and read the inscription on the door. “The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.” She went into the church and prayed for the strength to accept her ordeal. The radiant trust in God and peace of mind she maintained before and after the surgery (double mastectomy), was big news in the media and a great inspiration for all cancer patients. She trusted in Jesus’ words given in today’s gospel, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”  
2. “It was a good day for me”:
There is a story about the fourth-century Greek “Cynic Philosopher,” Diogenes of Sinilope. On a voyage to Aegina, he was captured by pirates and sold as a slave in Crete. As he gazed at the bystanders who were bidding for him, he looked at a man and told the pirate chief, “Sell me to that man because he needs a master.” The man who bought him was a Corinthian by name Xeniades. “What is your trade?” asked Xeniades. “The only trade I know is that of governing men by teaching them the art of virtuous self-control,” replied Diogenes. Xeniades was so impressed by his philosopher-slave that he promptly handed over to him the management of his household and the education of his children. “It was a good day for me,” Xeniades used to tell his friends, “when Diogenes entered my household.” Jairus, the father of the girl Jesus raised from death, as described in today’s gospel, must have given a better compliment to Jesus in expressing his commitment to Jesus and faith in his divinity.  

3: "This is where I found Christ."

Here is a beautiful old story about Zacchaeus, the tax collector. It tells how in later years, he rose early every morning and left his house. His wife, curious, followed him one morning. At the town well he filled a bucket... and he walked until he came to a sycamore tree. There, setting down the bucket, he began to clean away the stones, the branches, and the rubbish from around the base of the tree. Having done that, he poured water on the roots and stood there in silence, gently caressing the trunk with both of his hands. When his amazed wife came out of hiding and asked what he was doing, Zacchaeus replied simply, "This is where I found Christ." I can just imagine that for the rest of their lives, that woman who touched the tassel of Jesus' robe that day on the street...and the daughter of Jairus who was raised up in that room in her home, continually brought people back to those sacred spots and said, "This is where I found Christ! This is where Christ loved me into life!" Do you have a sacred spot like that? This is the Good News of our  Christian faith, isn't it? Love has the power to heal, to reconcile, and to redeem.

 4. Healed by laughing: 
"A cheerful heart is good medicine" (Proverbs 17:22).  In the 1300's, surgeon Henri de Mondeville reportedly told jokes to his patients in the recovery room. Laughter exercises the face, shoulders, diaphragm, and abdomen.  When the breathing deepens, the heart rate rises, and the blood takes up and transports more oxygen. Endorphins are released, pain thresholds are raised, and some studies suggest that even our immune systems are boosted.  When we laugh, others laugh too.  Laughter is a
contagious, highly effective, non-prescription medicine.  It has no side effects, and no one is allergic to it.  Have we had our dose of laughter today?  We can use the tool of humor to induce laughter for our health, healing and general sense of well-being.  We can even spend time in daily practicing our laughing out loud – maybe by smiling first, then leaning into a giggle, and then in outright belly laughs!   

5: A deaf man,
a blind man and a disabled man heard a rumor that God had come down to a church in the village to heal the sick.  They all went to find out if it was true.  God signed to the deaf man, "Can I help you, son?"  The man signed back that he would be so happy if he could hear again.  God touched the man and suddenly he could hear.  God then touched the blind man and he was able to see.  The third man was sitting in his wheelchair with his mouth wide open in amazement.  God looked at the man and asked him what he wanted. The man drew back and yelled, "Don't lay one finger on me! I'm on disability!"  

6: A pastor joke: 
One Sunday at Mass as the priest was giving his homily, a little baby in the front row suddenly started crying loudly.  The mother did her best to pacify the child but nothing worked.  So finally she got up and started to walk down the aisle to take the baby into the cry room.  The priest stopped his preaching, and very compassionately called out to the mother, "That's OK!  You don't have to leave.  The child isn't disturbing me."  The young woman turned around and said, "No, pardon me Father, but you're disturbing my child!"

7. Widow of Dr. Martin Luther King:
The whole world was saddened when Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. died in a medical clinic in Mexico. What was she doing in Mexico? It's simple. Doctors in the United States had told her they could do no more for her. The clinic in Mexico offered hope. That hope may have been an illusion, but who can blame her? We'll do anything for hope. Ask someone who has been in chronic pain and has discovered that even the finest medical professionals don't have a clue about how to stop their pain. Many of these sufferers will go to any lengths to find someone who can give them relief. Wouldn't you? The woman with chronic hemorrhage in today’s first Gospel story, comes to Jesus with trusting Faith. She has heard that this is the physician she has been looking for.
From Sermons.com

Jairus' Daughter

Mark 5:21-43 - "The Healing of Jairus' Daughter and the Hemorrhaging Woman"
Mark 5:21-43 - "Be Healed, Be Held" by Leonard Sweet
A business executive became depressed. Things were not going well at work, and he was bringing his problems home with him every night. Every evening he would eat his dinner in silence, shutting out his wife and five-year-old daughter. Then he would go into the den and read the paper using the newspaper to wall his family out of his life.
After several nights of this, one evening his daughter took her little hand and pushed the newspaper down. She then jumped into her father's lap, wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him strongly. The father said abruptly, "Honey, you are hugging me to death!" "No, Daddy," the little girl said, "I'm hugging you to life!"

This was the greatness of Jesus. He took people where they were and hugged them to life. That is precisely what we see Jesus doing here in this dramatic passage in Mark 5...

 Every morning all humans do the same thing. We get up, take a shower, brush our teeth, and then decide what we are going to wear.
Generally in western culture it remains true that "Clothes make the man," or in the name of a popular website, "Clothes make the girl." Got a teenager? Then you know what I'm talking about. Then you know oh-so-purse-painfully how important it is to have the "right look." To wear the "right duds" so you can be the "right dudes." Even if you are not a "fashionista," it is almost impossible not to be influenced by what the current culture says is "cool" (or "hot"). Who doesn't want to "look good" and so "feel good" about themselves?
Every week the tabloids are filled with planted or paparazzi celebrity photos - either looking their best or revealing their worst. But whatever shape they are in, what those celebrities are sporting influences the fashion choices of thousands. Designers count on it. In fact they literally "bank" on it. If someone fabulous and famous wears something, it will sell. The "knock 'em dead" designs on red carpet runways are immediately copied into much cheaper "knock-offs" so that those with a bit of disposable income can outfit themselves like royalty. Even countries without "royal families" have their "royalty." 

But while all of us - whether teenager or ladder climbing corporate bureaucrat - think that our clothes lend use power and prestige, the opposite was the case for Jesus in Galilee in the first century...
 Touch in Church 

One of my cyberfriends came across this in a church newsletter called "Touch in Church:"
What is all this touching in church? It used to be a person could come to church and sit in the
pew and not be bothered by all this friendliness and certainly not by touching.
I used to come to church and leave untouched. Now I have to be nervous about what's expected of me. I have to worry about responding to the person sitting next to me.
Oh, I wish it could be the way it used to be; I could just ask the person next to me: How are you?
And the person could answer: Oh, just fine, And we'd both go home... strangers who have known each other for twenty years.
But now the minister asks us to look at each other. I'm worried about that hurt look I saw in that woman's eyes.
Now I'm concerned, because when the minister asks us to greet one another, the man next to me held my hand so tightly I wondered if he had been touched in years.
Now I'm upset because the lady next to me cried and then apologized and said it was because I was so kind and that she needed a friend right now.
Now I have to get involved. Now I have to suffer when this community suffers. Now I have to be more than a person coming to observe a service.
That man last week told me I'd never know how much I'd touched his life.
All I did was smile and tell him I understood what it was to be lonely.
Lord, I'm not big enough to touch and be touched! The stretching scares me.
What if I disappoint somebody? What if I'm too pushy? What if I cling too much? What if somebody ignores me?
"Pass the peace." "The peace of Christ be with you." "And also with you." And mean it. Lord, I can't resist meaning it! I'm touched by it, I'm enveloped by it! I find I do care about that person next to me! I find I AM involved! And I'm scared.
O Lord, be here beside me. You touch me, Lord, so that I can touch and be touched! So that I can care and be cared for! So that I can share my life with all those others that belong to you!
All this touching in church -- Lord, it's changing me!
What was it our audacious friend said so many centuries ago? "If I but touch...I will be healed."
 David E. Leininger, ChristianGlobe Illustrations, www.Sermons.com
12 Years 

Twice in this story Jesus is touched by or himself touches someone ritually and ceremonially unclean but not only is Jesus not contaminated, the ones who had been contaminated to begin with are made holy and whole. Jesus has crossed the boundaries that had once defined the community, has rewritten the rules, and so has revealed a new day. Make no mistake: this story is all about the creation of a New Israel. Mark seeded this story with clues. How long had the woman been bleeding? Twelve years. How old was the little girl Jesus raised? Twelve years. No Jewish person reading this story could fail to see the repetition of the number twelve as a symbol of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Long about the same time that Jairus welcomed his little girl into the world, a women he didn't know began to hemorrhage. For twelve years this woman suffered. For twelve years this little girl grew and became ever-more-dear to her father. Both women were headed toward a rendezvous with Jesus on the very same day. Although their paths to Jesus were as different as could be, both of these daughters of Israel would point forward to the new community Jesus came to build.

Scott Hoezee, The Touch

The Wounded Healers
With all its imperfections, sins, blemishes, and warts, the Church of Jesus Christ is the intended healer of the world's wounds. Christians are called to be compassionate, wounded healers.

Perhaps, Henri Nouwen, the Roman Catholic theologian, has said this better than anyone else. The author of many books, Nouwen speaks of Christians as "wounded healers" who have compassion.

Compassion is not pity. Pity lets us stay at a distance. It is condescending.
Compassion is not sympathy. Sympathy is for superiors over inferiors.
Compassion is not charity. Charity is for the rich to continue in their status over the poor.
Compassion is born of God. It means entering into the other person's problems. It means taking on the burdens of the other. It means standing in the other person's shoes. It is the opposite of professionalism. It is the humanizing way to deal with people. "Just as bread without love can bring war instead of peace, professionalism without compassion will turn forgiveness into a gimmick."
Ron Lavin, Alone/Together, CSS Publishing Co., Inc.
 Qualification for the Gift of the Gospel

Jesus came to raise the dead. The only qualification for the gift of the Gospel is to be dead. You don't have to be smart. You don't have to be good. You don't have to be wise. You don't have to be wonderful. You don't have to be anything...you just have to be dead. That's it.

Robert Farrar Capon

What is at about human nature that makes us put off the most important things until a crisis looms? So often we coast in our relationships until they skid into a crisis. We think nothing of spending thousands on a car and blindly drive it by the homeless shelter everyday. We think nothing of a sixty-hour workweek but can't find time for dinner as a family.
We live lives of loneliness and sorrow because those things that could build our friendships, family, and faith get our leftover time.
 Then, one day it is too late, we have waited too long. We are like the Rabbi who did not run to Jesus until his daughter was "at the point of death [eschatos]."
Take a moment to examine your life today. What is at the "eschatos" - the point of death - in your life right now? What part of your spiritual or relational life is barely breathing? Find ways to make those areas (family, friendships and faith) a higher priority than career and income. Do something different this week. Before scheduling anything else, book time with God, schedule an appointment with those in your own family. Then, after prioritizing God and your family, then set up the rest of the week.
Jerry Goebel, Arise!
 Our Relationship with God 
One of the reasons people tend to see faith as a religion about God instead of a relationship with God is the sense that they are not worthy of the attention of an Almighty God. "My problems are too small for God to care about." or "With all the pain and suffering in this world, why would God care about me?" are a couple of ways people give expression to this sense of insignificance. The sense is the one  expressed by our theme title today, "How can one so great care for one so small."
Have you ever felt that sense of insignificance? There have been times when I've gazed into the incredible expanse of a starlit sky and felt ever so small and insignificant. Even our planet is hardly a speck of dust in the vast cosmos.
And yet, the heart of the lesson for today says that God is attentive to the heartache and suffering of all persons, no matter how insignificant they may seem to the world around them.
Religion can get in the way of a relationship with God. Faith is not about rules, regulations and religion. It is about we human beings reaching out to a God who reaches out to us through Jesus Christ who reaches into the pain and anguish of our living. The good news for the people in our scripture lesson is that the barriers all fall away. For the woman, for Jairus and for the little girl - the greatness of God and the good news of Jesus Christ eliminate all obstacles to health and life.
And aren't you glad that Christ cares more about our wholeness and our living than he does about the niggling details of religious convention? When I am in anguish and wish for the presence of Christ, I do not need to worry that I am too great a sinner or that some folks would consider me to be unacceptable -- I know that Jesus cared for a woman who was a social reject and for a little girl that was not among the children of his followers.
John Jewell, Can One So Great Care for One So Small?
 The Grow in Clusters

Though I have never seen the Sequoia trees of California, known as Redwoods, I am told they are spectacular. Towering as much as 300 feet above the ground. Strangely, these towering trees have unusually shallow root systems that spider out just under the surface of the ground to catch as much of the surface moisture they can. And this is their vulnerability. Storms with heavy winds would almost always bring these giants crashing to the ground but this rarely happens because they grow in clusters and their intertwining roots provide support for one another against the storms.
When we are together, either as a family or a church, we provide this same support. Pain and suffering come to all of us. But, just like those giant Sequoia trees, we can be supported in those difficult times by the touch of one another's lives. The knowledge that we have someone; that we are not alone; that there is someone who is willing to touch us, hold us, keeps us from being destroyed.
Brett Blair, eSermons.com
Jesus Brings Life

With whom do you most identify in today's gospel? There are plenty of characters here who are being  stung by death. There is a woman whose whole life has been caught, dominated by a terrible, life-demanding illness. There is a distraught father. A little girl whose young life is being cut short. There are the baffled disciples, the crowd who doesn't know what to think of all this. Where are you?
And yet, intruding into the story is another face, the strong, live-giving face of Jesus. Mark says that Jesus was forever intruding into fixed, settled, hopeless situations and bringing life. Hear his strong voice speaking over the laments and dirges in today's gospel? Hear him as he calls to the little girl, "Get up!"

 I think he may be calling to you...