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Gospel for Sunday, June 27 : Mark 5: 21-43

XIII Sunday B

21When Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other shore, a large crowd gathered around him and he was standing along the sea. 22And there came one of the rulers of the synagogue, whose name was Jairus, and when he saw him, he fell at his feet. 23and begged him insistently: “My little daughter is dying: come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be saved and alive.” 24He went with him. A large crowd followed him and gathered around him. 25Now a woman, who had been bleeding for twelve years 26and he had suffered much at the hands of many doctors, spending all his possessions without any benefit, rather getting worse, 27hearing about Jesus, he came into the crowd and touched his cloak from behind. 28In fact, she said: “If I can even just touch his clothes, I will be saved.” 29And immediately the flow of blood stopped and she felt in her body that she was healed of the disease. 30And immediately Jesus, having realized the strength that had gone out of him, turned to the crowd and said: “Who touched my clothes?”. 31His disciples said to him: You see the crowd gathering around you and you say: “Who touched me?”. 32He looked around to see the one who had done this. 33And the woman, afraid and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34And he said to her: “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be healed of your illness.” 35He was still speaking when they came from the house of the leader of the synagogue to say: “Your daughter is dead. Why are you still disturbing the Master?”. 36But Jesus, hearing what they said, said to the ruler of the synagogue: “Do not be afraid, only have faith!”. 37And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, James’ brother. 38They arrived at the house of the leader of the synagogue and he saw a commotion and people crying and screaming loudly. 39When he entered, he said to them: “Why are you upset and crying? The little girl is not dead, but sleeping.” 40And they laughed at him. But he, having thrown them all out, took with him the father and mother of the child and those who were with him and entered where the child was. 41He took the little girl’s hand and said to her: “Talità kum”, which means: “Girl, I say to you: get up!”. 42And immediately the girl arose and walked; she was in fact twelve years old. They were struck by great amazement. 43And he urged them insistently that no one should know about it and told them to feed her.

Mark 5: 21-43

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.



Two miracles arranged in a “sandwich”

The healing of the woman with hemorrhage and the healing of Jairus’ daughter are the last miracles of the “miracle booklet” (Mk 4,35-6,6).

According to Mark’s style, there are two stories arranged in a “sandwich”, that is, we begin to tell a miracle, we put a piece of the other miracle, then the conclusion of the first miracle, and then the conclusion of the second miracle.

What links these two miracles?

  1. Both miracles occur through physical contact. The hemorrhaging woman sees her losses stop as she touches Jesus, the dead child is healed and brought to life because Jesus takes her by the hands and says to her: “Child, get up!”.
  2. The hemorrhoid has been ill for twelve years, Jairus’ daughter is twelve years old. Twelve is double 6, which, in the Jewish Kabbalah, is the number of precariousness, of weakness, it is the number of the limit, it is the number of creaturely smallness in the life of men, of their imperfection: in fact it is 7, the number of fullness, less 1. Both the poor hemorrhaging woman and the more than wealthy daughter of the head of the synagogue, a great authority in those times, both are “twelve”, that is, small and fragile.

The text

A woman arrives who had heard about Jesus and had thought: “If I can even just touch his cloak, I will be healed”. With this idea she went into the crowd, behind Jesus, to touch her cloak. In miracle stories, touching can refer both to the miracle worker (5.41) and to the sick person. The second gesture is preferred by Mark in the summaries, where we learn that entire crowds of sick people threw themselves on Jesus to touch him, or that people brought their sick to him with the request to be able to touch him (3.10; 6.56). The two gestures presuppose the idea that the thaumaturge is full of a strength that heals. The woman performs this gesture in the confidence of having salvation from Jesus.

The Law stated that a woman who bled was impure (Lev 15,19-30). But Jesus allows himself to be touched by “a woman who had been suffering from a haemorrhage for twelve years” (Mk 5:25). “And not only does he allow himself to be touched secretly, as he had tried to do to the woman, but he asks out loud: «Who touched me? »; and so he proclaims to everyone that he let himself be touched by this woman and doesn’t care about legal impurity” (G. Ferretti). “Both the woman and Jesus disregard the Law and become “impure” in order to gain freedom from illness. Life always precedes the ritual and this is only the sign of its gratuitousness” (P. Farinella). This woman is a great believer, because she knows that everything God touches is pure and sanctified: so this is a demonstration of her Faith.

In this passage the verb “to touch” is said four times. “Touch” materially expresses what faith is. Faith is touching Jesus, faith is having personal contact with Jesus: by touching Jesus we receive a gift that heals us and makes us reborn. Jesus praises this woman and calls her “daughter”, and proclaims that it is faith that gives salvation: it is because she attached herself to him, it is because she touched him that she is saved (the verb sozèiv is used, which means both “to heal” than “to save”), and Jesus then gives her the messianic “shalom”: “Go in peace”.

In the second episode, Jesus does not give importance to the words of the messengers from Jairus’ house who tell him not to disturb the master anymore because his daughter is dead and he says to Jairus: “Do not be afraid, just continue to trust”. It is an exaltation of crazy perseverance in faith, against evidence, against all hope even in the face of death: even in the face of definitive and complete collapse we are invited not to fear. The believer is the man of hope always, at all costs, of optimism in all circumstances. Sadness, pessimism are “beepiness”, lack of faith.

Jesus calls with Him those who will be the privileged witnesses, both at the transfiguration and at Gethsemane: Peter, James and John. Peter, the rock, the first pope of the Church; James the first Apostle martyr; John the singer of the love of God.

Jesus takes the little girl by the hand and says to her: “Talita Kum”, “Girl, get up”. Still sweet and tender physical contact, holding hands. It is the hand of God, a theme developed extensively in the Old Testament: “I, IHWH, hold you by the right hand” (Is 41.10).

“Talita Kum”: words in Aramaic that are a little strange for us, but perhaps they are a liturgical expression that was proclaimed in the assembly. Two verbs are used, “egheiro” and “anastazo” (“arise” and “rise again”), which are typically Easter. The bystanders foretaste Jesus’ victory over death, a victory in which we will all participate: in physical contact with Christ we too will be told: “Rise”, “Rise”, which are the verbs of the resurrection.

The grand finale: Jesus told them that no one should find out and ordered them to feed her. There are two meanings here:

the tenderness, the delicacy of Jesus, who thinks about the biological life of this little girl: “Give her a sandwich!”.
There is an announcement of the next section of the Gospel: the bread section. Furthermore we have a revelation on the profound meaning of the Liturgy. The Christian who died and was resurrected through Baptism should eat the bread of life: whoever tastes it will no longer see death. This little girl was dead, she is resurrected, and now she eats bread. We, in Baptism, die to sin, are resurrected with Christ and then throughout our lives we eat the Bread of Angels, the very flesh of Christ, so as to never see death again. The Sacraments of the Church are the way God touches us and saves us.

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


Spazio Spadoni

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