‘To have access to His heart, to the heart of Jesus, only this is required: to feel in need of healing and to entrust himself to HIm'
Below is a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis’ Angelus address today at noon to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square:
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
The Gospel of this Sunday (cf. Mk 5,21-43) presents two prodigies worked by Jesus, describing them almost as a sort of triumphal march towards life.
First, the Evangelist tells of a certain Jairus, one of the synagogue leaders, who comes to Jesus and begs Him to go to his house because his twelve-year-old daughter was dying. Jesus accepts and goes with him; but, along the way, comes the news that the girl is dead. We can imagine that father’s reaction. But Jesus tells him: “Do not be afraid, only believe !” (v. 36). Upon arriving at the house of Jairus, Jesus sends out those who had been weeping – there were also the women who were screaming loudly – and enters the room only with the parents and the three disciples. Addressing the deceased, He says: «Little girl, I say to you: get up ! “(V.41). And immediately the girl gets up, as if waking up from a deep sleep (v. 42).
Inside the story of this miracle, Mark inserts another: the healing of a woman who suffered from bleeding [hemorrhages] and was healed as soon as she touched Jesus’ mantle (v. 27). Here strikes the fact that the faith of this woman attracts – I want to say “steals” – the divine saving power that exists in Christ, who, feeling that a force “had come out of Him”, tries to understand who it had been. And when the woman, with so much shame, comes forward and confesses everything, He tells her: ‘Daughter, your faith has saved you’ (v.34).
These are two interlocking stories, with a single center: faith; and show Jesus as the source of life, as the One who gives back life to those who trust Him fully. The two protagonists, the father of the girl and the sick woman, are not disciples of Jesus and yet they [are restored] because of their faith. They have faith in that Man. From this, we understand that everyone is admitted on the path of the Lord: no one should feel like an intruder, an abusive person or someone who has no right. To have access to His heart, to the heart of Jesus, there is only this required: to feel in need of healing and to entrust himself to Him. I ask you: does each one of you feel in need of healing? Of something, some sin, some problem? And, if you hear this, do you have faith in Jesus? These are the two requirements to be healed, to have access to His heart: to feel oneself in need of healing and to entrust oneself to Him. Jesus goes to discover these people in the crowd and takes them away from anonymity, freeing them from the fear of living and daring. He does it with a look and with a word that puts them on the road again after so much suffering and humiliation. We too are called to learn and to imitate these words that liberate, and these looks that give back, to those who are not [liberated], the desire to live.
In this Gospel reading, the themes of faith and new life, that Jesus came to offer everyone, are intertwined. Entering the house where the girl lies dead, He drives out those who are agitating and lamenting (v.40) and says: “The child is not dead, she is asleep” (v. 39). Jesus is the Lord, and before Him, physical death is like a sleep: there is no reason to despair. Another ‘death’ is to be afraid of: that of the heart hardened by evil! Of that, yes, we must be afraid! When we feel that our hearts are hardened, our hearts harden and, I allow myself to say ‘the mummified heart,’ we must be afraid of this. This is the death of the heart. But even sin, even ‘the mummified heart,’ for Jesus is never the last word, because He has brought us the infinite mercy of the Father. And even if we fell down, His soft and strong voice reaches us: “I tell you: get up!” It is beautiful to hear that word of Jesus addressed to each one of us: “I tell you: stand up! Go. Stand up, be brave, get up! ” And Jesus restores the girl to life and gives life back to the healed woman: life and faith to both.
We ask the Virgin Mary to accompany our journey of faith and concrete love, especially towards those in need. And let us invoke her maternal intercession for our brothers who suffer in body and spirit.