Both readings for today’s liturgy feature the distress of parents when faced with life threatening illness or danger for their children. David mourns the death of his son Absolom. Jairus is fraught with anxiety at the serious illness of his daughter. Most of us have heard someone repeat the words of King David: “If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!”
To be sure, the situation of Absolom and Jairus’ daughter were not the same. Absolom had joined in the plot to overthrow his father which led to his death at the hands of David’s servant Joab while Jairus’ daughter was obviously a beloved daughter who was carried away by illness. Yet both parents are overcome with grief.
The Gospel tells us that Jairus was a synagogue official. So this would be the first Jewish man to place his faith in Jesus’ power. Though he might have been party to the negative thoughts of the other Jewish officials, he sets that aside in order to seek the help of Jesus for his daughter. The love he demonstrates for his daughter brings him to Jesus. Like so many who seek the help of Jesus in the Gospels, we never hear of him again. However, I find it hard to believe that he would have been party to the plots against Jesus later in the Gospel.
David needs God in his grief. Jairus needed the healing touch of Jesus. All of us can identify with these two men, if not directly at least indirectly. The wonderful Good News is that we all have access to God’s love and grace in our need. So we come with thanksgiving in the Eucharist, knowing that God’s love for us far surpasses any situation in which we find ourselves.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator