“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
Today’s Gospel selection features Jesus ministering to the pressing needs of large crowds of people – as well as individuals such as the synagogue official Jairus, his young daughter, and the woman with the persistent hemorrhage. Each person saw in Jesus the opportunity to be fully alive and healthy, freed from the bonds of sickness and isolation and meaninglessness. The crowds diligently followed Jesus on both land and sea; the synagogue official fell at Jesus’ feet to request a miracle; the sick woman quietly came up behind Jesus to simply (and anonymously) touch his cloak; the little girl was lovingly helped from her sickbed by Jesus’ own hand.
Each miraculous encounter was based on some level of faith in Jesus. Jesus’ words to each of these people encouraged them to have deeper faith — and then to go and live that faith. Fear? No way! “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” “Go in peace…be cured of your affliction.”
Each of us has his or her special needs, and perhaps some fear. We suffer with our Health, with a lack of Security or Meaning; we feel Alone; we lack true Love. Our 21st century world likewise has its special needs: we yearn for hope, justice, freedom, leadership, a respect for life – to name just a few needs! Jesus invites us all to come to Him with faith, leaving behind our paralyzing fears as we make our requests. “Please, come…if I but touch his clothes…”
With supreme gentleness and selflessness Jesus offers us the healing power of His Love, manifested in His every thought, word, and deed – to the ultimate gift of His death on the Cross! Jesus lovingly speaks to us as he did to the little girl: “Talitha koum…little girl, I say to you, arise!” Life and fulfillment are ours, in Jesus!
In these early weeks of the Church’s Ordinary Time, we are reminded of our rich blessings with God’s Life and Love in the person of Jesus! As 21st century men and women of faith, may we live and share that Life and Love with our sisters and brothers.
Fr. John Schork, C.P. serves as the Province Vocation Director and also as Local Superior of the Passionist Community of Holy Name in Houston, Texas.