Sunday, 1 July 2018
Talitha kum, 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Who do we turn to when we have a problem?
Something we often do is, we turn to those we have seen help others in a similar situation.
The point I want to make to you is that we have a powerful example of how the Early Church did this with respect to the Gospel miracle we just heard:
The account we just heard passes on to us one of the extremely rare words of Aramaic recorded in the Gospels. Why is this significant? Because it indicates that these were the EXACT words spoken by the Lord Jesus. In hearing the words, “Talitha, kum”(Mk 5:41), we hear not a summary of Jesus, not a translation, but even 2000 years later we hear the EXACT words He said.
The Gospels were written in Greek because that was the international language of the day. But the Lord Jesus and the disciples would have used other languages: Hebrew, for certain official prayers; Latin, for dealing with the Roman rulers; Greek, for business transactions; but their everyday language use was Aramaic.
In this passage, written in Greek, St Mark hands on to us not a translation of the Lord but His exact words.
The Early Church, as it spread beyond Palestine, treasured and handed on certain exact phrases of the Lord, and this is one of them.
“Talitha kum” -but why it is significant?
Literally, as St Mark comments, it means, “Little girl, get up!”
The Early Church treasured this text because it saw in these words a significance even broader than being yet another miracle of the Lord.
WHO is the “little girl” that the Lord raises up?
THE CHURCH -she is, according to Scripture, she is the “bride” of the Lord Jesus (c.f. St Bede, cited in Catena Aurea).
The Lord came from heaven because she was in need: weak in sickness of soul, lost in her sin.
And the Lord said to her: “Little girl, get up”.
Yes, this was a particular girl: Jarius’s daughter.
But she is symbol of how the Lord raises up the WHOLE Church, and each of us as members of her.
I know this has been MY experience:
There are times when I’ve been weak and defeated, crushed by the trials and woes of life, and yet I’ve somehow felt an inner strength move me on, something beyond me -He has said to me, “Get up!”
There are times when I’ve been dead in my sin, rendered lifeless by my own iniquities, and yet He has spoken to me, “Get up!”
And across this congregation: you know the same.
Let us think, also, of how often we have been like Jarius:
Jarius was not sick himself; he didn’t have a problem.
It was the problem of one he loved that troubled him: the sickness of his daughter.
Like Jarius, when we carry the problems of others, we must bring them to the Lord, we must bring them to the only one who has the power to say, “Talitha, kum”, “little girl, get up!”
A final point: Jarius had people try to stop him bring her to the Lord:
Some people told him not to bother the Lord, she was dead already9mk 5:35);
Other people scoffed at the Lord, they “laughed”(Mk 5:40).
My point is this: there are many around us today who likewise scoff as they see us bring our problems to the Lord. “Do you really still believe all that?”, “Do you really think there’s a God up there?”
Yes, actually, I do. I believe that nothing comes from nothing; and that something comes only from something; that this amazing ‘something’ all around us is only here because of a Creator.
And yes, I believe He cares about us, that He listens to our pleas. And I light candle with my prayers.
Because the One who raised up that little girl of Jarius;
The One who raised up the “little girl” of the Church, when weak and lost;
That same One can also raise me up today. And I come to hear His call, “Talitha, kum!”