We often find ourselves pulled in countless directions and sometimes forget our common vocation to become disciples, and the Gospel today reminds us we must continually place faith in God and trust his guidance in our daily lives.
In this passage, Faith in Jesus is what leads to healing. Having this kind of faith can be hard because it’s very easy to feel unworthy. Being confident in Jesus’ power and love is also hard when we live in a world where we’re taught we need to see something immediately to believe it. Whereas Faith involves patience and practice, things we’re just not very good at today. When Jesus himself was dying he entrusted his life-spirit to his Father. His resurrection is our assurance that Jesus’ trust was not in vain. We know in faith that nothing, not even death, can separate us from the love of God that we experience in Jesus. Jesus is saying to us: ‘Trust in God still and trust in me.’
Today’s Gospel provides two great examples of people placing great trust in the power of Jesus. Jesus rarely seems to get on well with the religious elites of his time, yet here we have Jairus, a prominent member of the synagogue, desperate for help and ready for faith. Jesus leads many supplicants on a faith journey, step by step, until they accept his gift. Jairus’ healed daughter is unnamed, without a speaking part, yet is a favourite biblical character for many young girls, including my own daughter.
In first Century Palestine, the difference between being perceived as clean or unclean by the community could determine whether one was included or excluded by the community. The sickness suffered by the woman meant that she was ostracised from the community and in fact, the woman’s presence in the crowd was socially unacceptable and her touching of Jesus’ garment would really be a scandalous act of faith in that time. Her quality of life is so low that she risks everything and breaks many of the social rules of her time in order to be healed by Jesus – and it is only her incredible faith that provides her with the strength and courage that she needs to receive the healing she so desperately requires.
Along with Faith; healing is also a concept central to this story and it’s important for us to reflect on who in our local community and wider society needs healing and how might we contribute to a culture that emphasises healing and forgiveness. Many people today let social conventions stand in the way of seeing the suffering and needs of people around them. In this passage, Jesus provides us with a perfect example of how we can break through this barrier of apprehension. So, like Jesus, we should not let our concern for how society will view us, or the social conventions of our culture keep us from meeting the needs of others who need help. Just as the woman trusted her faith and had the courage to reach out to touch Jesus; may we have the courage to be faith-filled as well as inclusive of all.
Let’s notice when we see the fruits of our faith and be thankful that God always keeps his promises, even if we’re not always aware of it at the time and just like the woman – let’s be scandalous in our own acts of faith!
Faith can move mountains.