Illness and death.
Two constants in our lives; often the cause of solid questions…Why me? Is it fair? Response to these trials is often not unlike community, let alone individual, reactions when a waste dump is proposed “Not in my backyard!” Nonetheless, we all have to deal with the twin realities.
Our teaching today is part of a series of manifestations of Jesus’s power revealed in the past few weeks by Mark.
Power over chaotic nature…crossing to the Gentile shore.
Power over the demons in the Gentile land.
Power over sickness and death, crossing back to the Jewish shore and next week, the lack of faith in his home town.
Too much to consider in one week, but a challenge to be explored privately.
Illness and death are still with us.
So, what is to be learned from today’s accounts?
Obviously, Jesus exhibited great love for the afflicted women…and he did not let the social mores and customs of the Jewish law prevent him from allowing his clothes to be touched or to take the hand of the dead girl. The latter, almost a ‘death’ sentence in those times for a male.
Further, we note that the number twelve is used in both narratives. We see those healings reflect Jesus’s concern for the wellbeing of the community. He restores, to both women, their life-giving capacity. Both can now bring forth life from their bodies. Both can resume their honoured place in their communities.
Faith can exist in difficult situations.
For some reason, our society is under great pressure when questions of life and death arise. Four States have now legislated ‘dying with dignity bills’. Sadly, all have passed abortion provisions. Some are reluctant to provide adequate palliative care funds. Our Gospel illustrates a different approach. It is our duty now to find a way through this morass, as early Christians overcame the less than noble practises about life in our early history.
Faith still exists and can prevail in our times.
We can still bring wholeness and dignity to our communities.