WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Responding with compassion

WelCom July 2018:

Merrick Mitchell

Jairus has asked Jesus to heal his daughter who is very ill. We do not know her name, as she, like the other women in this passage, is not named. Jairus is very definite in believing that Jesus can heal his daughter through laying hands on her, as he has healed many others. He knows that she will die without Jesus’ intervention.

On their way to Jairus’ home, in the middle of a large, jostling crowd pressing in upon Jesus and Jairus, a woman in desperate need touches the hem of Jesus’ cloak. She believes Jesus will heal her of a bleeding she has had for 12 years. Her bleeding makes her ‘ritually unclean’, so she approaches Jesus quietly without wishing to draw attention to herself. She has tremendous courage, and her faith in Jesus heals her. In the midst of all the noise and hubbub, Jesus feels and sees her need, takes the time to stop and speak to her, and affirms her as a daughter of God.

Perhaps we might learn from this example of Jesus interrupted while doing something important? Keep our cool, read the situation, respond with compassion.

The faith of this woman illustrates the connection between physical touch – closeness with Jesus – and healing, wholeness.

There is discordancy. Jesus’ disciples wondered how he was ‘aware that power had gone out from him’ when so many people were pressing in. Then messengers come and say that Jairus’ daughter has died and there is no need to bother Jesus any more.

Jesus encourages Jairus to keep faith. They arrive at the house and Jesus assures the mourning crowd that, ‘The child is not dead, but asleep’. They are incredulous and laugh at him, but he goes in with three companions, and Jairus and his wife to where the child lies. He takes her by the hand – closeness with Jesus again – speaks to her and restores her to full life.

What can we learn from this?

Like Jesus, we can be centred on doing God’s work, and not be swayed unduly by adverse events around us. Being compassionate with others, even when things get traumatic. Let us listen to God through prayer and the Word, which will form and shape us. Then we in turn can transform the world through living as the Good News.

Merrick Mitchell is Lay Pastoral Leader with the Holy Family Parish of Nelson-Stoke.