Daughter

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

Crossing over: a reflection

Mark-5-two-miraclesPerkins [590-91], as usual, offers a very interesting reflection on the passage.

The story of a nameless woman who has exhausted her resources seeking medical treatment for a chronic condition strikes a responsive chord with many older adults today. When they were younger, doctors seemed able to provide cures. Now these persons seem to have an ever-expanding list of medical complaints. As one man in his seventies put it, “After a certain age, you are never really well. Just less sick.” The financial drain and emotional difficulty of dealing with the bureaucratic, impersonal, and compartmentalized medical establishment compound the difficulty. Continue reading

Cross over: one alive

Mark-5-two-miraclesThe Raising of Jairus’ Daughter: the Subduing of Death. 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.”

The interruption of attending to the hemorrhaging women creates a time delay in the narrative, providing space for the girl to die, 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

Crossing over: encounters

Mark-5-two-miraclesThe Plea of Jairus.When Jesus had crossed again (in the boat) to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him…”

Jesus is returning from his experience in Gentile territory and the casting out of a demon from a man in the Gerasene district. The transition to our text is simple and stated in one verse. Jesus returned to the western shore of the lake, perhaps to Capernaum and a multitude gathered around him, immediately upon his arrival, so it seems. No indication is given whether the crowd came together as soon as he arrived or after an extended period of time; it is simply the first fact that Mark records, offering a contrast to Jesus’ experience on the eastern shore where the inhabitants urged him to depart. Continue reading