In the Gospel of Mark chapter 5 we see two touching episodes of life restored, but what is so interesting about these two episodes in particular, is that the narratives are interwoven, suggesting an intimate connection.
The first story is of a man named Jairus, a leader of the synagogue whose daughter has grown deathly ill. In his desperation, he seeks out Jesus for a cure and even convinces Jesus to come to where she is. While they are on their way however, and we the readers begin to look forward towards a conclusion, we are all interrupted by the story of a woman who has suffered from years of hemorrhaging. Hers too, is a desperate situation, a lost cause possibly, where the only hope seems to be this wondering rabbi and healer named Jesus. But while this new patient is receiving some much needed attention, news comes back to Jairus that his daughter is already dead. Like the woman with hemorrhages, who must have heard countless times, there is no hope for you, Jairus must hear from the world around him that it is better to just let her go.
If we could ask St. Francis de Sales he might tell us that the storytelling employed here in the Gospel of Mark is one of those examples of union whereby two distinct things are not just pressed together, but pressed into one another. The episodes then become so entangled that it is difficult to see them separately, as independent stories. Indeed it is the interruption of one story with the other that leads us to wonder if the death of Jairus’ daughter has in some way been caused by Jesus’ delay and the needs of this new patient.
Jesus’ words to the woman are telling, a message possibly for Jairus himself: [Jesus] said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
Jesus’ concern for this woman as a daughter of Israel is equal to Jairus’ concern for his own daughter. But more importantly, the mounting pressure to bring Jesus to the little girl is contrasted with this woman who, having already been well beyond the hope of the world, was brought back to life. Jairus’ daughter will be no exception, even though he cannot yet see it.
It is the same with you and those you love. While others may say, there is no hope for your children to come to a life of faith, or when the devil says there is no hope for you to come back to spiritual life after sin, or when the world declares with the utmost confidence that Christianity is dead; it really does not matter. All that matters is Jesus’ concern for each and every one of us. And when Jesus, the Lord of the universe, creator and sustainer of all that is, says, Get up, then we get up.
No matter what is happening in your life, no matter what has happened in your life, listen for Jesus’ words, and when you do, get up!