Fifth Sunday after Pentecost June 28, 2015
In Mark we see Jesus on a fast-paced journey, proclaiming the kingdom of God and manifesting God’s power through a series of miraculous acts. Today’s reading centers on two women. One is Jairus’s twelve-year-old daughter, near death. In her culture she is womanhood. Her future promises a good marriage, comfort, and security connected to her father’s position as a lay official in the synagogue.
The other woman, suffering from a long-standing continual flow of menstrual blood, has lost her life, in a sense. Considered unclean and untouchable during her monthly flow, she is dead to her womanhood. She cannot have a normal married life and thus has lost whatever securitythat might bring. She is destitute for years of expensive but unsuccessful medical treatments and impoverished emotionally by what the illness has cost her relationally.
Despite distinctions in age, social standing, material resources, and what the future might hold, the life of each is denied potential fullness by an illness in need of exceptional, even unique intervention. Jairus pursues that for his daughter, certain that Jesus can cure her, and in a supplicant act pleads for him to come put his hands on the daughter. The woman with chronic hemorrhaging also acts out of unfailing faith in Jesus’ ability to heal. Trusting that just by touching his clothing she will be cured, and having no one to act on her behalf, she moves anonymously within the crowd around Jesus to claim her healing.
Through his response to each of these, Jesus gives us another glimpse of the kingdom of God. That revelation, for all who were present and all who would hear the story in times to come, still calls us to minister where need is present, without regard for position, standing, or judgment.
Judith Justice, retired pastor, Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina