“Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, ‘My little daughter is dying’… And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years” (Mark 5)
He just could not take it any more. Seeing this little girl bring wasted away by her ailment, he could not help questioning her, “Why did God send you this sickness?”
The little girl did not say one single word. She simply turned around, opened her drawer, took out a crucifix, smiled and gave Jesus hanging on the Cross a big, big, long kiss.
Another gem which shines in our world where the negative always seems to be more conspicuous.
A father and a woman teach
Mark 5 also speaks of suffering and pain.
A woman had been suffering from blood hemorrhage for twelve years. Vaginal bleeding? Bleeding cancer? We do not know. We only know that she went to all kinds of doctors. The only thing they cured her from was her pocket! A nameless woman, a nobody, disqualified from community, feeling dirty at all times.
Mark 5 speaks also about a father. A synagogue leader, powerful in town. His name was Jairus. He also was facing pain. He had a daughter who was dying. He could control many things in town and yet he found himself helpless in front of the sickness of his daughter. He approached Jesus. But, some people came from his home came and announced to him : “It’s over! She died!” Very interesting. Jesus is already moving towards this girl … and instead of her becoming better, she became worse! Before she was sick, now she is dead!
Death surrounds us. It comes to meet us too often. Death meets us not only in the grim face of a doctor informing us of some serious illness, but also in the face of one who has just told us that we are no longer needed for the job, or in the face of the husband/wife who opts out of marriage after 35 years together, or a friend who turns his back us, or a family member who refuses to forgive…
One example among many.
Life was always been tough for Antoinette Bosco, the daughter of an immigrant from Southern Italy. Her husband left her, leaving her to raise and support her seven kids alone. Then one blow after another. Her eldest son Paul, born with extreme myopia, experienced cranial pressure that burst a blood vessel in the retina of his left eye, leaving him effectively blind in that eye. Two months later, her youngest son, Peter, “one day, he walked to a pond about a mile from home, where he used to go to meditate, and put a bullet through his head.”
“I never believed I could survive the death of one of my children. I would go to bed at night and my body would take over with what felt like labor pains. From some depth I was trying to give birth to Peter again.”
Then two years later, “came another blow that almost crushed the life and faith out of me — the unbelievable, horrifying news that my son John and his beautiful wife, Nancy, had been found murdered in their bed in their Bigfork, Montana home. This was beyond belief. How could two fine people — a cabinetmaker who played the violin, and his wife, who came from a South Dakota farm family and loved poetry — be blown away by an armed intruder invading the sanctity of their home?”
How does one overcome these formidable challenges? Yes, life has its own agenda, full of surprises which we do not count on. Divorce, unemployment, illnesses and yes, even death. We are not in control of this!
BUT HE IS! Jesus Christ intervened in the life of this woman, this father, this child. He intervenes and… heals. He enters into the fixed, settled reality and brings out life!
He just says one word. It is a shout! “Talitha qum” which means “Little girl get up!”
He has the power to transform death into life.
Antoinette says : “People have asked me, how do you overcome these formidable obstacles? I can only speak of my personal journey, but I found that while pain is permanent, we don’t have to translate pain into permanent suffering. There is a difference. We don’t ask for pain, and it hurts, terrible. But we truly are in control of what we do with our pain. We can fight it and continually suffer. Or we can accept it and learn from it the single most important lesson of all: compassion for others.”
This is what Jesus is able to do!
He gives us a vision and a strength.
He gives an inner deep healing.
Actress Ann Jillian found a growth on her breast; she feared the worst. Before going to the doctor, she went to Saint Frances de Sales Church. Over its door was this inscription which she had often seen but never read until now : “The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either he will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.”
Ann did. Two weeks later she successfully underwent a double mastectomy.
Yes, the more we depend on God, the more dependable we find God is!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.