Jan 29, 2024
(2Sm.18:9-10,14,24-25,30-19:3; Ps.86:1-6; Mk.5:21-43)
“Hearken, O Lord, to my prayer,
and attend to the sound of my pleading.”
Today in our readings we hear of desperate pleas made to the Lord. In our gospel there are at least two “earnest appeal[s]”: Jairus “fell at [the] feet” of Jesus and begged Him to heal his dying daughter; and without words the woman “who had been afflicted with a hemorrhage for a dozen years” makes her appeal by working her way through the crowd simply to “touch His clothing” and be well. The woman is healed “immediately” and hears from the Lord, “It is your faith that has cured you.” Her He sends in peace, but peace and the same faith He does not find as He approaches Jairus’ house after having been told his daughter is dead. There is “the noise of people wailing and crying loudly on all sides.” Theirs seems to be a kind of pleading, but the Lord’s answer to such prayer they reject and mock, and so must be put out of the house – only those of faith can know of healing.
And so Jesus takes only Peter, James, John, and the girl’s parents into the room where the child lies, for they are able to heed His teaching: “Fear is useless. What is needed is trust.” And so when He reaches out His hand to the little girl and speaks to her, “Talitha koum,” she indeed rises and walks about. The prayer of a true heart is always answered in the power of God.
What can we say of David’s “weeping and mourning for Absalom” in our first reading? Again a father cries out for his child. But here it is not an innocent “child of twelve” for whom the prayer rises up, but for a son who has rebelled against his father “with evil intent,” seeking indeed to overthrow David’s kingdom and put him to death. David’s cry, “My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!” stands in opposition to what is expected of him as he is informed of the “good news” that his enemies have been defeated and their leader killed. But here again the king knows it has been his own sin which has led to such disruption in his house. And so it is as much for himself he cries as for the child of his loins. And though Absalom shall not be raised from the dead, perhaps the Lord hears the sorrow of David’s heart and will later comfort him.
“To you I call all the day,” O Lord. “I am afflicted and poor,” but “you, O Lord, are good and forgiving.” Heal me as I cry out to you. Look upon my weeping and mourning with your kindness; raise me from the dead by your word and feed me with your Body and Blood.
O LORD, why do we wail at the prospect of death –
why do we not trust in you?
YHWH, you hear our cry, you answer our pleading and send your Son to die in our place. We have rebelled against you, we have deserved death, but Jesus dies in our stead that we might be saved from the grave. And so our amazement is complete at the love you bear for us.
Have pity on us, LORD, we are afflicted; we have been tormented many years. Give us the faith to come to Jesus on our knees to find His salvation, to be healed of all our ills. He cannot but hear us as we call to Him – His heart cannot but turn to us in our need. For He carries your compassion and cannot but witness to your undying love for your poor creatures.
Speak to us, dear LORD. Whisper in our ears with your sweet voice, inviting us to rise and walk with you. Let us answer to your call that we might come from death to life in you. Let us weep no more.