Daily Gospel Reflection – Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest
Bishop Robert Barron
January 31, 2023
Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest
Gospel: Mk 5:21-43
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” He went off with him and a large crowd followed him.
There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” But his disciples said to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, Who touched me?” And he looked around to see who had done it. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”
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. He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, today’s Gospel tells of the raising of the daughter of Jairus.
Jesus continues his assault on death, upbraiding the people for their ostentatious moaning and mourning. He is impatient with the whole culture of death, all that has grown up around the supposed finality of death. And this is why he says, “The child is not dead but asleep.” Relativizing death—that is the name of Jesus’ game.
When news arrives that the child has died, the suggestion comes that Jesus should not be troubled any further. But Jesus says to the leader of the synagogue: “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” There, in a nutshell, is the Gospel: a passion for the impossible, a firm belief that the reign of death is ended. Faith replaces fear.
The Talitha koum (“little girl, get up”) is a reminder of the absolute centrality of resurrection in the Jesus event. God is the Lord and giver of life, and he accordingly battles all those forces of death that bedevil us.