Sunday, July 1, 2012

Talitha Koum

In Mark's Gospel Jesus approaches the body of Jairus' daughter with the command, 'little child, arise,' we might imagine that Jesus used the same phrase towards the woman with the hemorrhage.  In today's Gospel all parties involved are challenged to a deeper faith, and to respond on that deeper level.  By using this Aramaic phrase Mark wants us, the reader, to experience the intimacy that Jesus has with those who approach him.

Time and again Mark will show the disciples as lacking in understanding of Jesus' divinity and his mission.  Jesus heals and drives out demons, and the disciples response is to wonder which disciple is the greatest.  Even when Jesus sits with a child in his presence, plainly expressing the need of disciples to accept faith as a child, the disciples seem to have the experience but miss the meaning.

To be sure God sees us as his children.  we trend to become preoccupied and distracted, but God continues to love us and draw us back to himself.  In both Jairus, and the unnamed woman with the life-long affliction, they have exhausted all of their other options.  Jairus a man of power and authority, and the woman with the hemorrhage, have reached the point of desperation.  They have come to believe and trust in the word of Jesus.  "If I only touch the tassel of his cloak I will be healed."  It is that trust and faith - and emptiness - that allows them to be healed.

The seminary I went to also had a college seminary connected to it.  These were great men; there is no doubt about that.  But they loved to wear the Roman Collars whenever possible, or to wear albs at some sort of ritual or prayer service.  But Mark shows us that even the disciples could not 'get over themselves,' in their wanderings with Jesus.  The cross is stark and all-exposing.  That is perhaps why it is so frightening.  Discipleship and the cross calls us to conversion, and even more so, to recognize that we need to walk in faith with Jesus Christ.  This is where we will finding healing and peace for ourselves.

Sometimes, even in religious circles, we become too centered on 'me' and 'mine.'  This is maybe why in the Ignatian spirituality it is so very important to become emptied, in order to be filled up.  Ignatius of Loyola realized that discipleship began and ended with the cross.  Healing insists of the faith of a child of God.  It asks us to be open to whatever Christ may give us rather than to expect a response.  Walking on holy ground with Jesus will always fill us with awe.

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