There are some Biblical texts that refer to the relationship between sickness and sin or between forgiveness and healing. These relationships exist not because God has decided to inflict sickness, but because sickness and sin define everything that is wrong with our world. In other words, they define the mess that God comes to clean up.
There are those who believe that God should rid the world of sickness and death, and that belief might make some sense. If God protected everyone who believed in Him, then everyone would believe not out of love, but out of a calculated self-interest. People would believe only so that God would take care of them and their families.
When Jesus brought Jairus’s daughter back to life, he didn’t fill her empty stomach. That’s because God wants us to be a part of what he is doing. He brought the little girl back to life, but he wanted the people around her to give her something to eat. Then there would be no doubt that Jesus truly was all powerful and great in mercy.
Jesus came to raise the dead, both the physically dead and the spiritually dead. When Jesus is on a mission, nothing can stop Him. He did not allow the professional mourners and their laughter to stop him from showing God’s healing power. The mourners represent people who refuse to accept Christ and the gifts he offers.
Most of you have heard of the old saying that “desperate times call for desperate measures.” Which is where we are today with the separation of children from their parents. Desperate times also call for a desperate faith, a faith we saw in the women who had been hemorrhaging for many years. The faith Jairus had when he knelt before Jesus to heal his dying daughter. Faith in an all-powerful God means everything. Jesus enters our lives in our hopeless moments and brings us hope. He comes with his healing power when no healing is possible. Sometimes he works the miracle of physical healing, and sometimes he works the miracle of spiritual healing. He may not always come when we want him to come and he might not always answer our prayers the way we want him to, but we must always be faithful and know that he will help us. Faith is the belief that God will do what is right.
Sometimes God does what is right by not doing anything right away or by doing something other than what we want him to do. Jairus had to wait for his daughter’s “healing” while Jesus healed the women who was hemorrhaging. When we have to wait, our faith can be shaken. We might wonder if we are worthy of God’s love. We might wonder if we are praying to God in the proper way.
Jesus asked Jairus to have faith, and Jairus did have faith. Even when God does not answer our prayers in the way we want him to do, we can have faith that God does love us. Faith empowers healing, but the lack of faith hinders healing. That’s why Jesus ordered the mourners to leave Jairus’ house. Their minds were closed to someone who has the last word over death. People who have faith handle life’s problems differently from people who have no faith. An act of faith on the part of the woman healed her. Jesus even said that her faith made her well. Jesus did not comfort Jairus when he heard that his daughter had died. Instead, Jesus challenged him to have faith. Regardless of our circumstances, God always urges us to have faith, not fear.
Nothing is too small for God. He notices the little things in our lives, just like Jesus noticed when the women touched his cloak. Jesus always knows the intentions of our hearts and he distinguishes the touch of faith from the touch of a follower.
Jesus gave out of his abundant power to heal, and we have been called to give out of our abundance and carry out God’s work in our world. He calls us to love one another as he loves us, including showing love and compassion to those who are suffering. Jesus took people where they were and loved them. He is love in action. It takes something out of us, just like each and every healing, took something out of Jesus. We suffer when we work against God’s will, especially when it conflicts with our own selfish desires. Sometimes his will interrupts our lives. When it does, can we adapt or do we stick to our plans?
In this Sunday’s Gospel, we see the compassionate face of Jesus. He suffered with those who suffered, and he still serves the suffering today. He served those who reached out to him in vulnerable ways, and he still serves them today. He showed compassion to the suffering and the grieving, and he still shows compassion to them today. With all that is going on in this country and in the world, this compassionate, suffering servant attitude gives us hope for today and hope for the next life as well.
When we receive God’s grace, we end up taking Jesus seriously. When we do, Jesus will change our tears into joy and our skepticism into amazement. At that time, we will find out what it means to be made whole. May we all show compassion to those who are suffering or grieving as Jesus continually shows to us.