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(Part 26)


February 5, 2013
Today’s gospel: Mark 5:21-43

Faith works wonders. In today’s gospel, Jesus performs two miracles--the healing of the woman with a hemorrhage and the raising of Jairus’ daughter from the dead. Both were due to faith--that of the woman and that of Jairus.

We see that Jesus was approached by the woman and Jairus because they had heard of him. “She had heard about Jesus” (Mk 5:27a). People need to hear about Jesus so that they can believe. They heard, and so they believed that Jesus could do wonders. “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” (Mk 5:28). “Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” (Mk 5:23c).

Now faith is professed either on our own behalf or on behalf of others. The woman sought healing for herself. Jairus sought healing for his daughter. Often people do not even see their need for Jesus. They will not seek him out, nor ask for healing or liberation. But we know, not just our own need, but also the need of others. People need to meet Christ and start to live in him. Thus we in faith must act to bring others to Christ, or in the case of Jairus’ daughter, bring Christ to them.

When there is faith, there is liberation--physical, emotional, spiritual. Jesus said to the woman, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” (Mk 5:34). She was physically healed of being “afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.” (Mk 5:25). As “she had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had” (Mk 5:26), she must have been an emotional wreck. But now she could go in peace. Finally, she experienced the personal touch of her Savior and Lord. She “fell down before Jesus” (Mk 5:33b). She had been saved.

Now to come into the presence of the living God is awesome, even terrifying. “The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling.” (Mk 5:33a). We too, especially when we experience the wonders of God, or even when we ourselves perform greater works, ought to be in awe of His divine majesty. But we should never let this keep us from approaching him. We must not be afraid in that sense.

Jesus told Jairus, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” (Mk 5:36b). Other translations render it this way: “Do not fear, only believe.” (NRSV). “Fear is useless. What is needed is trust.” (NAB). Thus synonyms of “to have faith” are “to believe” and “to trust.” The interesting thing is that the opposite of faith is not lack of faith, but fear. David says, “my heart does not fear; .... even then do I trust.” (Ps 27:3); “I trust in God, I do not fear.” (Ps 56:5b).

Fear keeps us from approaching Jesus. Fear paralyzes us in living our lives for Jesus. Fear prevents us from proclaiming the gospel.

Let us then trust in the God who loves us, who heals us, who has given his very life for us, who promises to be with us till the end of the age. Let us not be afraid of the call to the New Evangelization, even in the face of strong forces against us. Let us proclaim Christ, and know that faith works wonders. “At that they were utterly astounded.” (Mk 5:42b).

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