Everyday Stewardship / 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

do not be afraid

While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”

 He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. [At that] they were utterly astounded.

Mark 5:35-42

I remember when I was a teenager involved in youth ministry, there was a man in our area that would frequent retreats and lock-in’s, telling the story of his daughter who was essentially brain-dead in a hospital bed. She had been given no chance to survive, so he was asked to give the directive to take her off life support. To aid in his discernment process, he went to Mass in the hospital chapel. On his way up the Communion aisle, somehow the Eucharist fell to the floor in front of him. He bent over, picked up the Eucharist, and consumed it. A few people at that Mass had witnessed this occurrence. A man who was there afterwards spoke to him on the way to the elevator. The stranger told him that because Jesus had fallen and he had bent down to pick Him up, a miracle was in store for him. When he got off the elevator for his daughter’s floor, he saw that a great commotion had begun and nurses were racing down the hall: to his daughter’s room. With anguish, he ran to the room, and this supposedly brain-dead girl, the one he would have to take off life support, sat up and said, “I am hungry.” As the years went by, that girl went on to attend Georgetown University and graduate with honors.

I do not remember that man’s name. I hope I have not misrepresented details of the story, since the last time I heard it was 30 years ago. However, the impact of the story has never left me. It taught me the same thing Jesus taught those who witnessed him healing the daughter of Jarius: anything is possible with God. As Everyday Stewards, we are always looking for the small actions that make big differences. God takes what we offer in a simple action and performs miracles. The words of Jesus to Jarius should be in our minds everyday as we go forth into a chaotic world where things are unsure: “Do not be afraid, just have faith.”

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