‘Talitha Kum’ typed on Google will take you to the website of an international organisation of Catholic nuns, which works against human trafficking. Motivated by today’s Gospel, the Sisters aim to help survivors to ‘get up’ and begin a new life: “Taking the child by the hand, Jesus said to her, ‘Talitha Kum!’ which means ‘Little girl, I tell you to get up!’”
“Get up!” meaning “I bring you fullness of life” is the essence of Jesus’ ministry: today we see this fulfilled for the sick woman and for Jairus’ daughter. Jesus shows us how God acts and, as we read in the First Reading, death was God’s not doing – he created all ‘to be’ and to ‘have health in them’.
In today’s Gospel, we may wonder why Jesus insisted on knowing who touched him. The woman came forward frightened and trembling, since a haemorrhage meant she was unclean and, in secretly touching Jesus, she had made him unclean also. Her joy at being cured would have always been tinged with guilt, but imagine the fullness of her joy and relief as she heard Jesus say, “My daughter, your faith has restored you to health; go in peace and be free from your complaint”!
Both miracles underline the part that faith plays in receiving Jesus’ gift of fullness of life. Jesus does not take faith for granted, he knows it is not easy and he praises it in the woman and encourages it in Jairus, “Do not be afraid; only have faith.”
As followers of Jesus, we are called to help one another towards more fullness of life, by our daily choices – a smile, a word, a helping hand. Then, when we eventually enter into our death, our faith is that Jesus will be there, saying, “Talitha kum! – Get up! I am the fullness of life for you!”