“While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. When they came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, he saw a tumult, and people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a tumult and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi”; which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and walked (she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.” -Mark 5:35-43
Jesus tells us not to fear, but to believe. In the midst of the worst of suffering, the loss of a child, Jesus tells us not to fear. Jesus is trusted by the father of the little girl, even when others laughed at Him.
Now I know what some of you are thinking, “Jesus raised his daughter, but he did not raise my daughter, son, mother, father, friend”.
Yes, that is true, but don’t get blinded by that. The father believed in Jesus before his daughter was raised, not after. We know how the story ends, the little girl’s father did not know. Everyone was telling him she was dead. Everyone was making fun of Jesus and the man’s faith in Jesus, but he still believed.
However, the truth embedded in this miracle of Jesus runs deeper. It involves a truth we don’t like thinking about: death.
Our lives here on earth are temporary. Everyone dies. And everyone goes on to live forever… somewhere. Often our problem is we don’t make choices that take this into account.
The world we live in doesn’t look at life through the lens of this truth. We tend to limit our thinking to just our life on earth. The world views death as an ultimate end. This life is seen as a time we need to make the most of… in terms of money and pleasure. We have sayings like, “You only life once”.
We fear the unknown, and in this case, we fear the thing not yet experienced. We have never been to Heaven, Hell or Purgatory. God has told us about them, but we doubt God, and we get influenced by the way the world thinks, though not intentionally, and maybe even unconsciously. This causes us to not carry our belief in God’s promises into our day to day lives. This comes to light when we have to face death.
For example, let’s say a person looses their spouse. This is indeed a most difficult thing to deal with. The sadness of missing their spouse is very difficult to go through. However, what if the surviving spouse despairs because of all the things their spouse never got to do? What if they lament that they will never see their spouse again? Is this not a kind of denial of the reality of Heaven? I’m not trying to be insensitive. I say this with compassion and love.
You see, everyone dies. We may be ninety seconds old or ninety years old, but we all will die. Those we leave behind will be sad, but they will all die too. I know this all sounds quite morbid, but here is my point. We are all striving for Heaven so we can be happy with God and our loved ones forever. And while our physical life on earth is sacred and should be protected, we need to act more like Catholic Christians who understand that – ultimately – we are all trying to get to Heaven.
He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also.John 12:25-26
Like all things, prayer will help us be better at this. We can pray to God and ask him to open our eyes to spiritual realities and help us to be mindful of them and allow them to guide our thoughts and actions. To help us remember that this life is not the end, but only a drop in the ocean of God’s love for us. Remember, the little girl in St. Mark’s Gospel died, but Jesus had other plans for her… and He has great plans for us as well.