Life seems to have two sides: this side and the other side. The majority of our external and internal body parts have two sides, including the hand, heart, leg, kidney, etc. There are two sides of a coin, and every story has two sides; be sure not to run with one side of a story. According to Terry Goodkind, “there is nothing that exists that has only one side. Even a piece of paper, thin as it is, has two sides”.
Life constantly takes us on a journey from one side to the other side. We could also notice this dynamic in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was perpetually moving from one side to the other side, but not without some powerful instructional or redemptive assignments.
The Two Issues on the Other Side
Three successive Chapters of the Gospel of Mark (4,5,&6) have instances of Jesus repeatedly crossing from one side of the sea of Galilee to the other. At each instance, there was always some remarkable event.
Last time we heard that a severe windstorm confronted Jesus and his disciples as they crossed over to the other side of the sea, Gerasene. Recall that Jesus calmed the sea, and getting to the town, he healed the demoniac who had a legion of demons.
The Gospel of Mark (5:21-43) presents another crossing to the other side, and as we could imagine, the crossing was for another important purpose. This time two issues needed the Lord’s attention.
From the crowd that welcomed Jesus, a Synagogue official, Jarius, showed up with a plea inviting Jesus to attend to his dying twelve years old daughter at his home. On his way to attend to Jarius’ daughter, a woman with the issue of sickness (bleeding) for twelve years emerged with a faith-motivated attempt to touch the garment of Jesus to receive healing. Let us look closely at the two issues in the narrative.
The Issue of Sickness
Sickness is the other side of good health. Sometimes we see ourselves heading towards the other side due to age, lifestyles, or by accident. Some sicknesses are for a moment; others seem to stay longer than we anticipate. The long stay of the coronavirus has been a great worry for everyone.
In the narrative, we see a woman with an issue of bleeding for twelve years. Her sickness was as old as Jairus’ daughter, and she spent everything she had to get better, but nobody could address her issue as she only grew worse.
Now, as Jesus was heading to Jarius’ house, the poor woman had a thought and acted on it immediately. She said to herself (not to anyone else), “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured!” She was instantly healed of her affliction as Jesus felt power leaving him from the touch of the fringe of his garment. Jesus further asked, “who touched me.” The crowd was huge, and many could have touched Jesus. However, only the woman made a faith-full touch.
The woman was not the only person who had an issue in that crowd, but she did what no one else could do; putting her faith into action. It is not all about what is happening to you but what you do with what is happening to you. We see the woman living out the words of the letter to the Hebrews (11:6), “And without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
The Issue of Death
Death is the other side of life. While death is a facility that is open to every one of us, nobody is in a hurry to die. Watching someone close to us die is never a pleasant sight. So you can imagine what made the Synagogue official drop his ego and convictions to search for Jesus to heal his dying daughter. He was desperate to save the life of the child, just as any thoughtful parent could be.
Jesus was going to Jarius’ house to deal with the issue of death when the sick woman showed up with her issue sickness. From the narrative, we could imagine that Jesus spent some time before continuing his journey. Consequently, the unexpected happened. The child died. People came to tell the official not to bother bringing Jesus, but he turns to him and says, “do not be afraid; just have faith.”
Upon entering the house with Peter, James, and John and taking the child by the hand, Jesus says to her, “Talitha Koum,” that is, “little girl, I say to you, arise!” Responding immediately, the girl rose and started walking around to the amazement of everyone.
Moving Forward: Addressing the Issue of Faith
One way to overcome all the issues we have in life is by faith. So, we now consider the issue of Faith. Faith does not make things easy; rather, it makes them possible. Faith does not require prior verifications; it requires one thing, just believing with your mind and spirit. Recall that the woman with the issue of sickness believed that she would be healed even before touching the garment of Jesus. To Jarius, Jesus instructed, “do not be afraid, just have faith.”
Some people often tell me, “Fr., this faith thing is difficult”. Well, did you know that it takes more time and resources to fear than to have faith? Fear gives you anxiety, worry, and restlessness. But faith produces trust, hope, and peace.
Our problem may not even be all about the issue of sickness or death, but the issue of faith. So let us work towards challenging our faith today like the nameless woman who dared to touch the garment of Jesus and got healing. With our faith, our physical, mental, and spiritual hemorrhages would be healed. With faith, every dying or dead situation in our lives would stand to live again.
God bless you, and have a blessed weekend and a glorious week ahead.