Jairus’ Daughter

Mark-5-two-miraclesIn today’s post we continue to reflect upon this coming Sunday’s gospel with a return event which opened the readings: Jairus and his daughter. “While he 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.” (Mark 5:35-36) The interruption of attending to the hemorrhaging women creates a time delay in the narrative, during which the young girl dies. The community responds with, messengers to report to the father, and mourners to gather at the house (vv. 35, 38). The messengers present an obstacle to the healing by advising the father to leave Jesus alone, since the girl has died. Jesus takes the initiative by telling Jairus to have faith (v. 36). The reference to faith picks up the conclusion to the healing of the woman. Continue reading


Mark-5-two-miraclesThere is one simple verse in this coming Sunday’s gospel that deserves some reflection. “Daughter, your faith has saved you.” (Mark 5:34). At their core, the concerns and dynamics surrounding ritual uncleanliness, especially leprosy, bodily discharge, or touching corpses, were about relationships. They put one outside of the community. When Jesus calls the woman who touched him “daughter,” he establishes a relationship with one with whom he should not have a relationship. Her illness made her unclean. Her attempts to be healed by doctors made her impoverished. Her brazen invasion of Jesus’ space, touching Jesus’ clothes, “technically” made Jesus’ unclean and could have resulted in him condemning her. Yet by calling her “daughter,” he established the same kind of relationship with her as Jairus has with his “daughter.” He would do anything possible to save his daughter. Continue reading

The One who heals

Mark-5-two-miraclesThe full gospel reading for Sunday (there is a shorter option) contains two miracle accounts: the raising of Jairus’ daughter from death and the healing of the woman with hemorrhages. This is the account of a woman on rendered ritually “unclean” because of the flow of blood. Although suffering, she was very much alive, but at the same time face a kind of death because of her isolation from family and society. In yesterday’s post, the woman had reached out to touch Jesus’ garment as the passed by. “She said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.’ Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.” (Mark 5:28-29) Continue reading

Absent from life

Mark-5-two-miraclesThe full gospel reading for Sunday (there is a shorter option) begins: “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.” (Mark 5:21-24) – and then drops this story line, picking up the account of a woman on the way – a woman hemorrhaging for many years – and thus rendered ritually “unclean” because of the flow of blood. Although suffering, she was very much alive, but at the same time face a kind of death because of her isolation from family and society. Continue reading

The fullness of life

Mark-5-two-miraclesLast week (the 12th Sunday in Year B) we heard Mark’s account of Jesus on the stormy waters of the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35-41) during which Jesus calmed the seas with his word. This coming Sunday’s gospel moves into Chapter 5. The chapter begins with Jesus and the disciples returning to Jewish land as they again cross the Sea of Galilee. In Mark, the lake represents literally and figuratively the boundary between Gentiles and Jews.

The lectionary moves into additional miracle accounts while skipping the story of the Gerasene demoniac. Our gospel selection includes a miracle within a miracle. They are the final two miracles of the “miracle section” of Mark (4:35-5:43), which includes four miracles and reactions to the miracles:

  • Calming the storm at sea — the disciples still have no faith (Mk 4:34-41)
  • Casting a demon from a man and the subsequent desire of the locals that  Jesus leave town even as the healed man becomes a witness (Mk 5:1-20)
  • Raising Jairus’ daughter – “don’t be afraid, only believe” (Mk 5:21-24, 35-43)
  • Healing the hemorrhaging woman – her faith saved her (Mk 5:25-34)

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In the boat

Big stormy ocean wave. Blue water backgroundWhat’s as tall as a 10-story office building, snaps large vessels in half and inspires a small tribe of surfers to launch themselves into an unholy maelstrom? Giant waves. The bigger the better — or worse — depending on who’s talking; better for extreme surfers, worse for seafarers. Until very recently giant waves lived only as lore. There was the story of the Tlingit Indian woman who returned from berry picking to find her entire village disappeared. The polar explorer Ernest Shackleton once reported narrowly surviving “a mighty upheaval of the ocean,” the biggest wave he’d seen in 26 years of seafaring. But witnesses of a 100-foot wave at close range rarely lived to tell, and experts dismissed stories about these waves because they seemingly violated basic principles of ocean physics. It was only 15 years ago, when the British research ship Discovery was caught in an endless North Sea storm and struggled to station-keep for more than a week before it could break free. The scientists had been lashed to their bunks while the maelstrom swirled around them – all the while the data recorders were at work.  The data recorded seas 60 feet high, with some wave faces spiking at 90 feet and higher. With such reliable data established, satellites began confirming that these rogues, freaks, and giants of the ocean were far from rare. Continue reading


Yesterday’s gospel was the Markan story of Jesus and man possessed of a legion of evil spirits. It was accompanied by the story of King David being the target of curses and stones by one of King Saul’s family members.  One of David’s royal guard “said to the king: “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, please, and lop off his head.” But the king replied: “What business is it of mine or of yours…that he curses? Suppose the LORD has told him to curse David; who then will dare to say, ‘Why are you doing this?’ …Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to.” (2 Sam 16:9-11)
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