by Sarah Brock
AM Psalm 41, 52 PM Psalm 44
Isaiah 48:1-11; Galatians 1:1-17
If you could have any superpower, what would you choose? A common question in ‘getting to know you’ activities and internet personality quizzes. What do you choose? Invisibility? Super strength? The ability to fly? Healing?
In today’s reading from Mark, we have two very different stories of healing. First, we, along with Jesus, learn of the near-death condition of Jairus’ daughter. Jairus pleads with Jesus to come and help her, in his desperation perfectly confident that Jesus will be able to make her well. Heeding the anxious father’s supplication, Jesus begins the journey to the girl’s sickbed.
Along the way, with his disciples and followers pressing in on him, Jesus is startled by some of his power leaving him. Immediately stopping to figure out what’s going on, Jesus meets the women who laid all of her hope and faith on him with a brief graze of her finger to his cloak. “Daughter, your faith has made you well,” he tells her (5:34).
Yet, while Jesus is speaking with the woman, messengers come with the news that Jairus’ daughter has died. They ask Jairus, “Why trouble the teacher any further?” (5:35) But Jesus hears and, bringing a select few along, continues to Jairus’ home where he raises the girl up.
What strikes me in these two stories is the enormous difference in the faith of Jairus and his people compared to the woman. Though Jairus and his people clearly express faith in Jesus’ power to heal his daughter’s illness, it’s painfully clear that they place limits on this power. They lack faith in his power to help once Jairus’ daughter dies, laughing when Jesus tells them she is merely asleep. In contrast, the woman seems to place no constrictions on Jesus’ healing abilities. She believes that the simple act of touching his cloak will do the trick. No need to speak with him or even alert him to her presence. And it is this strength of faith that ultimately facilitates her healing.
After hemorrhaging for twelve years, this woman is healed as a direct result of her incredible faith. A faith that seems far stronger and deeper than any of the other individuals in these stories. A faith far stronger and deeper than anything I have ever experienced.
And it makes me wonder if it’s time to expand my concept of superpowers. I wonder how often I put limits on God’s power expressed in me. I wonder how I put limits on God’s power expressed in others. In some sense, this woman’s faith is her superpower. Maybe my list of superpowers should include things like the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23).
Maybe we need to begin asking ourselves a new question. What is my superpower? It’s time to recognize that we each have a gift that is a superpower in the eyes of someone else. Whether it’s faith or compassion or listening or speaking or leading or any one of the many powers we have each been granted.
What is your superpower?
Sarah Brock is a postulant in the Diocese of Massachusetts and lives in Boston.
Image Credit: Superhero Cosplay Photo from Wikimedia