Readings: Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24; 2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15; Mark 5:21-43
Little Lamb, arise. This is what Jesus’ words, the Aramaic, Talitha koum, literally mean–a beautiful, gentle expression. Another beautiful quote, much less obvious, is Jesus question, Who has touched my clothes?
How is that beautiful? It is addressed to a woman whose malady, the flow of blood, probably menstrual blood, rendered her ritually unclean, a pariah in her society, forcing her to creep about as the embarrassing, invisible person no one would acknowledge. Jesus’ question recognizes her existence, draws her out of the shadows, confirms that she is someone (Who touched me? NOT What touched me?).
When he addresses her as Daughter, he restores her place in the Jewish community; and he confirms the depth and power of her faith.
And that is the core of this passage: Jesus is not a magician. Jesus is where God’s mercy corresponds to my confidence in God’s pursuit of my good.
This is the longest continuous episode in Mark’s Gospel and that means it’s important to the Evangelist. It is certainly the climax to a series of miracles–Jesus stilling the storm, exorcising evil spirits; and now healing an alienating illness and raising a girl from the dead, responding to the living faith of a disabled woman and a grieving father.
Here we savor the majesty, the compassion, the exquisite touch of this Jesus who, though he can command the storm and the sea, awaits upon the faith of an outcast or awakens a girl to life by calling her little lamb.
When was the last time my faith made me whole? In following Jesus, when did I last feel power go out of me?