“Talitha koum!”

Several months ago, I wrote this reflection for our youth group.  While I sat in Mass today listening to this scripture proclaimed as the Gospel reading, I wanted to share it once again.

Since writing this reflection last fall, our world has experienced so much spiritual turmoil.  The world needs healing.  If you ever need a little encouragement to “get up and live”, look to Jesus, see him in the Blessed Sacrament and know he is calling you to ARISE and live the beautiful life He has created for you.  You are a precious gift, a masterpiece, created in His image, and worthy of happiness, love and hope.

His Own has written a beautiful song that you should listen to right now and know His love is bigger than anything.  He will never stop seeking your face.  You can listen to it here.  Enjoy.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHN80ICJvFA


Based on Mark 6:21-43

It’s a beautiful day, sunny, warm, just a few wispy clouds in the sky.  There is just a small breeze that keeps you from getting too hot as you walk with your parents following a crowd down toward the sea shore.  As you walk, the crowd gets larger and larger.  There is so much excitement as the people in the crowd keep talking about a teacher who can heal people, a teacher who is coming to see those gathered here today!  

Just as you reach the shore and see the teacher getting out of the boat, a man pushes past you.  He is dressed in simple clothes, but you can tell he is important.  Your mom recognizes him as someone from the synagogue.  His face is sad, so distraught.  He seems anxious and scared.  He is seeking help from the teacher.  He reaches the teacher and falls to the teachers’ feet.  Begging, pleading with him.  His voice is full of anxiety.  You look around.  Others in the crowd are starting to look concerned.  What is happening?  Why is this man under such stress?  His face, his voice, he needs help.  Finally, he speaks to the teacher.  “My daughter is at the point of death.  Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.”

Now you understand.  He is fearful of his daughter’s life.  He truly believes the teacher can save her.  The crowd becomes more agitated.   The teacher takes the man by the hand and leads him through the crowd.  They are talking.  The man is pointing in the direction of his house.  Your parents and the crowd decide to follow them.  As you walk through the streets of the town, many people come out of their houses and shopkeepers look out their windows to see what is causing the commotion.  The large crowd begins to grow in size once more.  You want to see, you want to see the teacher and the man, but the crowd is pushing you back.  You let go of your mother’s hand and make your way zigging and zagging through the people until you are right behind them.  You can see them continuing to speak, the anxiety on the man’s face is almost too much to bear.  The teacher touches his shoulder and he immediately calms down.  

Just then, a woman pushes you from behind.  She has long dark hair.  She looks frazzled.  Her clothes are torn and tattered and there are tears streaming from her eyes.  She stretches out her hand as far as possible.  She needs to touch the teacher.  She needs to reach him.  She has one finger outstretched as people are pushing in on her from every side.  She speaks.  “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”  Finally, that one finger reaches the cloak.  Immediately, the look on her face changes.  She is calm, peaceful, happy.  

Something happened when she touched him.  What happened?  Who is this teacher?  Just then, the teacher turns around in surprise.  How did he feel that?  How did he know she touched him?  Her finger had barely reached the edge of his cloak.  He asks “Who has touched my clothes?”  I stop dead in my tracks.  It wasn’t me.  I’m nervous.  Is he angry?  I can barely breathe.  The woman steps forward, she is trembling.  There is a look of fear on her face.  She falls to her knees and tells him the story of how she has been afflicted with a horrible disease for twelve years.  She believed the teacher could heal her.  She just needed to touch him.  The teacher looks at her with such compassion in his eyes.  I sense a deep love for this woman.  He spoke to her at that moment saying “Daughter, your faith has saved you.  Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”  

While the teacher was speaking to the woman, there was a commotion coming from a group of people walking toward the man.  They say to him “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”  Immediately the man begins sobbing.  Cries of pain and anguish come from his mouth.  Everyone is stunned.  Gasps and cries go up from everyone in the crowd.  Immediately, the teacher holds up his hand to quiet the people and says; “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”  I look around.  People are confused.  They want to have faith in the teacher and what he is saying, but the girl is already dead.  What can he do for her now?  

We continue to walk up a hill to the man’s house.  People are standing in front of the house weeping, hugging each other, trying to comfort one another after having just lost their little girl.  I hear someone say the girl was only twelve years old.  That’s how old I am.  Oh no!  Do I know her?  My heart begins beating rapidly.  Fear creeps in again.

The teacher continues inside the house.  I sneak inside behind him.  Anxiously waiting to see what will happen.  The teacher says “Why this commotion and weeping?  The child is not dead but asleep.”  What?!?!  Family members approach him and ridicule him.  How can he say such a thing?  The girl is dead!  The family members are in such pain from her loss and this teacher comes in and chastises them saying she is only sleeping??  

The teacher takes her mother and father by the hand and leads them into the room where the girl is.  The girl’s skin is as pale as can be.  She is lying still, not breathing.  Her eyes are closed.  She doesn’t move.  I start to cry because I realize this is my friend.  She goes to school with me.  We sit together at lunch most days.  I will miss her dearly.  As I wipe the tears from my eyes, the teacher stretches out his hand to hold hers.  He then spoke to her saying “Talitha koum! Little girl, I say to you, arise!”

As if I was in a dream, her cheeks returned to a beautiful shade of pink, she took a deep breath and stood up.  Her parents eyes lit up with happiness!  They gave her the biggest hug you could ever imagine.  As they hugged her, they cried tears of joy.  She was alive!!  The teacher healed her!  He healed my friend!  Who is this man who heals the sick and brings the dead back to life?  I never want to leave him.  I will follow him always.




What are you looking for?

Today’s gospel message (John 1:35-42) has so many captivating parts to it.  First, John the baptist, who has just baptized Christ, the Son of God, says to Andrew and another disciple, “Behold, the Lamb of God” as Jesus is walking by.  He uses the word behold, not just “Hey look” or “see”, he calls us to behold Jesus.

When you think of the word behold, what comes to mind?  Behold makes me think of giving birth to my children.  When I first looked into their eyes, held them to my breast, and examined each and every inch of their bodies, there was such awe, magnificence, and wonder.  That is how John the Baptist asks us to look upon Jesus.  He recognizes that this man is special and should be revered.  By using these words, Andrew and the other disciple are drawn to Jesus.

It’s at this moment, that Jesus turns to them and asks “What are you looking for?”.  Have you ever asked yourself that same question?  What are you looking for?  We are all searching for something.  We all use things of this world to fill the void in our heart, the longing we feel that causes us to search and search throughout our lives.  But Andrew, acknowledging that there is something different to be found with Jesus, asks where Jesus is staying and then goes with him to learn more about this man, the Lamb of God.  And Jesus’ response…perfect.  He looks at Andrew and says “Come, and you will see.”

Andrew follows Jesus.  He sits with Him all day.  He listens to Him, and Andrew realizes something that will change his life.  He realizes Jesus is the Messiah, the long awaited one who will provide salvation to the world.  What must Jesus have said?  What must he have done that would have allowed Andrew to realize this after only a few hours?  Jesus spoke as God would speak; perfect, sinless, lovely, honest, and full of humility and truth.  How many conversations do we have these days that fit into that category?

Andrew came, saw, listened and found the Messiah.  It’s at this moment that Andrew jumps up and runs to find his brother and evangelizes Simon to come and see for himself, the long awaited Messiah.  Simon follows Andrew and before Simon even has a chance to speak to Jesus, Jesus turns to Simon and says “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas” – which is translated Peter.  Jesus identifies Peter as “The Rock”.  Jesus knows Peter, inside and out, and He knows the gift Peter has been given by God the Father.  The gift that will bring the world the Church that Christ founded.

The next time your heart feels empty, you are struggling to find meaning, or you find yourself filling your life with things of this world, ask yourself  “What are you looking for?”.  That is your chance to “Come, and you will see”.  Come to Jesus, open scripture, let Him speak to your heart, and let Him provide your heart the salvation it truly needs.  Then go tell everyone you know “Look what I found!”.  When you find Jesus, you will never want to leave.  Jesus has already found you.  He calls you by name.  He has given you a gift.  Go out and use it.