Today’s gospel has Jesus squarely in the midst of his healing ministry. (MK 5:21-43) On his way to heal the daughter of Jairus he encounters the woman with the hemorrhage. He is so totally present in his healing power that all she has to do is touch his cloak to be healed and he knows that power has gone out of him. That was most likely the easy part of the day. When he arrives at the home of Jairus, he would only allow the parents and three of his close friends to go with him into the room where the child was already dead. It seems that perhaps this was a conscious act of “conservation of energy.” Crowds can so easily suck all the air out of a place and those following him were obviously skeptical of a good outcome since he told them the girl was not dead but asleep. Jesus is confident in his power to heal, gets the job done and tells those in the room with him to keep the incident to themselves so as to be free, perhaps, of those who did not seem interested in understanding who he was and in whose power the healing took place. That would be the work of another day.
Joyce Rupp has a short prayer reminding me that even as this gospel implies constant healing work on the part of Jesus – going from one dire situation to another – he did, in fact, know when to take a break. It’s good advice for all of us on this day when Christians celebrate the weekly Sabbath.
Jesus, we turn to you, our model and mentor of giving and receiving. We recall how you poured yourself out in service to those who crowded around you. We bear in mind, too, how you withdrew to the mountainsides to pray and restore what was depleted in your body and spirit. Grant us, Giver of Gifts, the wisdom, inspiration and discipline to cultivate a healthy balance between generous service to others and compassionate care of ourselves. Amen. (Prayer Seeds, p.134)