In the Gospel of Mark there are three stories of change involving Jesus in Mark chapter 5. These stories say something about who Jesus is and how he views us. They also illustrate the role of faith, and the role of those on the margins to increase our faith, and some the fear & reaction that people have to change.
Mark 5 begins with a description of a demon-possessed man who was causing harm to himself & others. Those around him were unable to restrain him and thus everyone was afraid. Suffice it to say everyone in this region would agree that this situation needs to be changed. Once Jesus confronts the demons (notice he confronts the problem. he does not cont confront the man). Jesus then heals the man by removes the demons & puts them into a herd of 2,000 pigs who ran into the lake and died. Somebody owned these pigs and I would guess were not happy about the lost income from the pigs. After word spreads a crowd gathers to find the demon-possessed man calm & fully clothed! So what do the people in the region say? They ask Jesus to leave! He disrupted the status quo. Perhaps they were afraid of what owner of the pigs would say? The change made them so afraid that they asked him to leave. It is similar to the Israelites who once they crossed the Red Sea say they were better off under Pharoah. They would have gone back in a minute. The demon-possessed man, on the other hand, asks Jesus if he can go with him whereby Jesus gives him a mission to share what happened with everyone which he ends up doing. Change requires some sacrifice or cost, it creates fear, and demands action.
Next story is really two intertwined stories where Jesus is asked by wealthy Jairus to come heal his daughter. As they walk to Jairus’s house with a crowd pressing on them a desperate woman who had suffered years of illness seeks to just touch Jesus to be healed. She was likely poor & marginalized and did not think Jesus would pay attention to her. There are many people who think Go just has forgotten nor ignored them like society has. Well, guess what? Jesus stops everything and wants to know what person sought him out in faith!! Once she is discovered, Jesus does not just rush off to deal with the important people like Jairus. No, he stays to talk & listen until Jairus’s servants come to report that his daughter is dead so don’t bother with this Jesus character. I’m sure Jairus was crushed and perhaps angry at Jesus’s stopping to deal with someone else. Especially a poor person over his daughter. Jesus seeing the dejection & perhaps Jairus just nodding his head yeah interjects “Don’t be afraid just have faith”. Jairus just had an object lesson in faith from the poor women who had just been healed. In fact Jesus stated her faith healed her. You may know the rest of the story whereby Jesus raises her from the dead. I believe the unnamed women increased the faith of Jairus. God often get our attention and deepens our faith through those who are on the margins. It stirs the love of God in us. His focus on the women showed how important humanity is to God. It was not about showing off his miracle skills to everyone. It was about stirring up faith and love. Sometimes this happens through difficult situations.
Today we are confronted with images of children being separated from there parents. This picture humanizes the immigration debate. Sometimes we get so hardened about things that we forget that we are talking about people. Created in God’s image. Whatever fear we have of change should not harm children or cause us to operate contrary to love and mercy. Cardinal Kasper says that God proves His Justice through His Mercy. Putting people before profits and love over tribe. I believe that God seeks to deepen our faith during all of this debate to be governed by the Beatitudes. May God deepen our faith. Blessings