Reflection for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity and Euro 2024.

“Do not fear, only believe.” Jesus, in Mark 5:21-43.

‘Woe de Cologne.’ Newspaper comment on England’s poor match play in Euro 2024.

Today’s Gospel involves the healing of a woman and a girl in  different yet similar circumstances. The first is the young daughter of Jairus, one of the synagogue leaders who comes to Jesus in desperation even though he may be criticised for it. He humbles himself by kneeling at Jesus’s feet and begging him to lay hands on her as he fears she will die and, without a word, Jesus simply does as he asks. 

As they go to his house with a large crowd pressing in on him, the second woman comes up behind Jesus. She has been bleeding for twelve years with a condition that would be curable today but she had seen many doctors, spent a great deal of money in doing so and was getting worse rather than better. The woman approaches Jesus, perhaps from desperation like Jairus, and simply touches his cloak in the belief that he can heal her. After so many years of failure, pain and ostracisation, this is a courageous and hopeful gesture on her part and, immediately aware of the power that had gone from him, Jesus stops and asks who touched him. As the woman is aware of bodily changes in her due to the contact with his clothing, so is Jesus. His disciples laugh at him as many people are crowding in on him but the woman fearfully owns up to what she has done – a brave thing to do, given the sensitive nature of her problem which would have made her unclean in the religious laws in those days. Having been shunned for many years, to find herself the focus of attention must have been daunting but, when she tells him the truth, Jesus says that her faith has made her well and that she can go in peace now that she is healed.

Jairus must have been in agony of mind while this was going on with his much-loved daughter being so poorly and the delay this causes does indeed mean that Jesus arrives too late – Jairus’ daughter has died. However, Jesus tells Jairus not to fear, just believe – how hard that is to do in desperate circumstances, but it was that belief that lead Jairus to Jesus in the first place. He tells the family that she is just sleeping and then sends them all outside despite the ensuing commotion and wailing. Only Peter, James and John are with him and, with the child’s parents also present, he takes the girl’s hand and orders her to get up. She does so, to the amazement of those present, and Jesus tells them to give her something to eat before he goes on his way, caring about her practical physical welfare too.

Despite the fears of them both, God’s love is sufficient for both the woman and Jairus to find the healing they seek although this may have been the last resort for them. Their hopes are realised and, in their fulfilment lies our hope too. Key to both was faith in Jesus and trust that he would respond. That is so in our day, too – in what do we need not to fear, just believe? And does that apply even to the English football team after the ‘Woe de Cologne’?!

With my prayers; pob bendith,

Christine, Priest Guardian.