The Faith of Jairus

June 30, 2024
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
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He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. At that they were utterly astounded. He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat. Mark 5:41–43

Jairus was the leader of the synagogue in Capernaum. In that position, he would have been pressured to be in opposition to Jesus. But his daughter was ill, and his daughter was more important to him than the opinions of the other religious leaders of the time. So he humbly came to Jesus by himself, fell at Jesus’ feet and pleaded with Him to heal his daughter.

Jairus makes two acts of faith in Jesus. The first was his request that Jesus heal his infirmed daughter. But the second took even more faith. On the journey with Jesus to see his daughter, he received the sorrowful news that his daughter had died. Jesus’ response to this was to turn to Jairus and say, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” Clearly, Jairus responded to this command of love with faith and trusted that Jesus could even raise his daughter from the dead.

As you ponder the faith of Jairus, consider this interior tension he must have been experiencing. He was tempted by the political and peer pressure of the scribes and Pharisees who opposed Jesus. He was tempted to despair while his daughter’s illness became increasingly worse. And when he heard she had died, he would have been tempted even more to despair when faced with the apparent fact that Jesus was too late. But he didn’t give in to these temptations. He remained in hope and trust.

When Jesus arrived at Jairus’ home, He saw many people who were “weeping and wailing loudly.” When Jesus questioned their acts of despair, He said to them, “The child is not dead but asleep.” But upon hearing this, they ridiculed Him. Clearly, the other people present did not have the hope and the faith that Jairus had. Therefore, it is also helpful to prayerfully meditate upon the contrast of Jairus and the others present.

The story concludes with Jesus raising the girl from the dead. He then told those present to keep this miracle quiet. Jesus did not heal her to gain fame. He did not heal her to prove to the people who were despairing and without faith that they were wrong. Instead, He primarily healed her on account of the faith manifested by the girl’s father.

Finally, Jesus’ divine love shining through His humanity is clearly seen when He says that “she should be given something to eat.” Jesus did not stand there expecting praise from those present. Rather, His loving compassion shone through as He expressed His concern that this little girl must have been hungry. His love led Him to address this minor detail.

Reflect, today, upon how you would have acted were you Jairus. What would you have done in the face of spiritual and moral opposition? Would you have turned to our Lord in trust and confidence? And when all human hope seemed lost, would you have maintained your trust in our Lord? Pray that the faith and hope of Jairus will inspire you, and commit yourself to follow his holy example.

My compassionate Lord, You responded to the faith of this loving father, Jairus, with mercy and compassion. You encouraged Him to trust and were attentive to every detail. Please give me a similar faith so that I will never despair in life but always keep my hope in You. Jesus, I trust in You.

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Featured images above: The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter By Gabriel von Max, via Wikimedia Commons