Today, in our first reading we hear of a father’s love for his son. In the gospel, we meet a father who loves his daughter. Both children are in desperate need of help. Both fathers reach out to men who they believe can help, men they trust. The first man’s hopes are dashed. The second man celebrates.
We encounter raw emotion in the story of King David and his rebellious son, Absalom. As many parents do, King David made many mistakes with his son and the result was a life that spiraled out of control. Finally, Absalom led a rebellion against his father. What is a father to do? King David loved his son and wanted reconciliation, but he would not give up the kingdom. So, he sent Joab, the commander of his armies into battle with strict orders not to harm Absalom.
Unfortunately, Joab was not a trustworthy servant. He successfully quelled the rebellion and then murdered Absalom, who defenselessly hung in a tree caught by his hair. Upon hearing the news of the death of his son, King David cried out, “My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!” King David was a man after God’s own heart. He would have preferred to give his life than lose his son.
In the Gospel we meet Jairus, a Jewish synagogue official, who had come to believe in Jesus and His power. Jairus’ 12 year old daughter is deathly ill and he askes Jesus to come and heal her. The crowds that long for Jesus, slow Him down as He makes His way to Jairus’ home. And then, Jesus feels the power of the Holy Spirit pour forth from Him. He stops and asks, “Who has touched my clothes?” Approaching in fear and trembling a woman, who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years, says, “I did.” For at the moment, she touched Jesus’ garment, she was healed. Jesus says, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”
Jesus continues on to Jairus’ home, even after they receive word that his daughter has died. Jesus simply says, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” When they arrive, Jesus holds the hand of the child and speaks saying, “Little girl, I say to you arise!” The child rises from the dead and walks around. Everyone is astonished.
Who do I place my trust in? An ordinary man or woman or God? These stories remind us that our trust should be in God alone. Jesus repeatedly reveals to the people that the old ways and laws of cleanliness and ritual will be replaced by the law of love and mercy as He touched a woman who was hemorrhaging and a dead child to heal them. In these two stories, 12 years is highlighted. Often in scripture the number 12 reveals the coming of God’s kingdom.
Jesus has come. The Kingdom is at hand. Our trust is in You and You alone. Jesus, I trust in You. Let us keep this short and powerful prayer at the tip of our tongue throughout the day as we rely on Jesus.