Vatican Radio– Pope Benedict XVI in his weekly Angelus address spoke about the two miracles performed by Jesus in today’s Gospel. After the prayer, the Holy Father greeted visitors from around the world.
Speaking to English-speaking pilgrims, the Holy Father said, “I welcome the English-speaking visitors gathered for this Angelus prayer. In today’s Gospel, Jesus restores life to a little girl in response to the faith-filled prayer of her father. In this miracle may we see an invitation to grow in our own faith, to trust in the Lord’s promise of abundant life, and to pray for all those in need of his healing touch. Upon you and your families I invoke God’s blessings of wisdom, joy and peace!”
Pope Benedict XVI’s Sunday Angelus address:
This Sunday, the evangelist Mark presents us with a tale of two miraculous healings that Jesus performs in favour of two women: the daughter of Jairus, one of the leaders of the synagogue; and a woman who suffered from haemorrhage (cf. Mk 5 0.21 to 43). Here are two episodes in which there are two levels of interpretation – the purely physical: Jesus bends down to meet human suffering and heals the body; and the spiritual: Jesus came to heal the human heart and to give salvation, and He asks for faith in Him.
In the first episode, in fact, at the news that the daughter of Jairus was dead, Jesus says to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid, but have faith!” (v. 36). Jesus takes him with Him to the place where the girl was, and exclaims: “Little girl, I say to you: Get up!” (v. 41). And she got up and walked. St. Jerome comments on these words, emphasizing the saving power of Jesus: “Little girl, get up through Me: not on account of your own merits, but through My grace. Rise, therefore, through Me: being cured does not depend on your virtue” (Homilies on the Gospel of Mark, 3).
The second episode, about the woman suffering from a haemorrhage, re-emphasizes how Jesus came to liberate the human being in its totality. Indeed, the miracle takes place in two phases: the first is the physical healing, but this is closely tied to deeper healing, that which bestows the grace of God to those who are open to Him in faith. Jesus tells her: “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace, and be healed of your disease” (Mk 5.34).
These two stories of healing are an invitation for us to overcome a purely horizontal and materialistic view of life. So often we ask God to cure our problems, to relieve our concrete needs – and this is right. But what we should ask for even more is an ever stronger faith, because the Lord renews our lives; and a firm trust in His love, in His providence that does not abandon us.
Jesus who is attentive to human suffering makes us think also of all those who help the sick to carry their crosses, and in particular physicians, health care professionals and those who provide pastoral care in nursing homes. They are the “reserves of love,” which bring peace and hope to the suffering. In the Encyclical Deus Caritas est, I noted that, in this invaluable service, one must first be professionally competent – it is a primary, fundamental requirement – but this alone is not enough. This service, in fact, is first and foremost about human beings who need humanity and heartfelt attention. “Therefore, in addition to professional training, a certain ‘formation of the heart’ is necessary above all for such workers: This should lead them to that encounter with God in Christ that sustains that love in them, and opens their soul to others” (n. 31).
We call upon the Virgin Mary to accompany our journey of faith and our commitment to practical love, especially to those in need, as we invoke her maternal intercession for our brothers who live with suffering in body or spirit.