Faith (primarily lived, later possibly understood) as communing with Father, Son and Holy Spirit

εὐαγγελίζω (euaggelizo)
“to announce the Good News of victory in battle”

“While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said,
“Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
Do not be afraid (μὴ φοβοῦ, me phobou;
just have faith (μόνον πίστευε, monon pisteue).”

θεωρέω (theoreo)
(“to perceive, discover, ponder a deeper meaning”)

Following the lessons of the Parables, the Gospel according to Saint Mark presents 4 mighty acts of Jesus in succession: the calming of the sea (4:35-41), the cure of the man among the tombs in the land of the Gerasenes (5:1-20) and the two events proclaimed this Sunday: the raising of Jairus’ daughter and the cure of the woman afflicted with hemorrhages (5:21-43). In each of these episodes, the disciples and the crowd come to know more about Jesus. At the same time, those same people are  uncertain and unsure of what His actions mean. For the Evangelist Mark, the fullness of Who Jesus is will not be revealed until the Cross, hence the command for silence at the conclusion of many of these events.

As for the Gospel proclamation for this Sunday, scholars note that this unit, 5:21-43, is an intercalation. An intercalation is a literary unit that has 2 distinct events. 1 event is split in half and the other event is ‘sandwiched’ in the middle of the two halves of the first event. It is the saintly evangelist's version of an Oreo cookie: the Jairus episode is split in half while the episode of the woman afflicted with hemorrhages fits in the middle. In an intercalation, what is learned in the first event helps to interpret the second event. Similarly what is learned in the second event helps to interpret the first event. In the case of this this intercalation, both Jairus and the Afflicted Woman offer insights regarding the gift of faith.

Like love and hope, faith is a Divine Gift. The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers a probing presentation of faith that is worth reviewing (paragraphs 142-197). All too often Christians of many denominations view faith as some type of ‘ethereal, nebulous thing’ that is engaged as a crutch when one comes face-to-face with the unexplainable. For example, when asked about some insight concerning the Most Holy Trinity or the Most Holy Eucharist, it is common to hear people say, “I don’t know.” When queried further as to why one would believe an incomprehensible topic, the answer is generally “I take it on faith,” which - on the surface - is not a wrong response. But often there is a subtle implication that one only needs faith when one cannot explain some aspect of the Christian experience. If I understand through my own efforts the insights of Christianity, great. If I do not understand, I engage faith. But this is a dangerous way of looking at faith because faith-filled Christian living is first and foremost a relationship between and among persons, including fundamentally Divine Persons.

Both Jairus and the Afflicted Woman teach with their lives that faith is a connection with another person, in this case, the Person Jesus. Knowledge, reason and understanding - while important and certainly welcome - are not the essence of faith. The Divine Gift of Faith offered by God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is ordered towards a life in communion with them and our fellow brothers and sisters in the mystical Body of Christ. Consider once again The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Writing early in his pontificate, Saint John Paul II underscored this relational, communing dimension when it came to the Church's evangelizing and catechizing ministries:
At the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son from the Father ... Who suffered and died for us and who now, after rising, is living with us forever. To catechize is to reveal in the Person of Christ the whole of God’s eternal design reaching fulfillment in that Person. It is to seek to understand the meaning of Christ’s actions and words and of the signs worked by Him. Catechesis aims at putting people ... in communion ... with Jesus Christ: only He can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity. (paragraph 426)
Jairus and the Afflicted Woman know that the brokenness in their respective lives can not be remedied by their efforts. A connection, a relationship with the Person Jesus will effect a saving intervention. Consequently, Jesus confidently declares: “Do not be afraid, just have faith!” The Greek text is blunt: μὴ φοβοῦ, μόνον πίστευε (me phobou, monon pisteue) – “Do not fear, trust [me] alone!” One can picture Jesus placing his hands on Jairus’ shoulders, squeezing tightly and then looking deeply into his fear-filled eyes. Jairus nods knowing that he can do nothing but place his trust in Jesus. What happened to Jairus? Fear seized him. In the Greek world, φόβος (phobos, fear) meant “to flee” because one judged a threat to survival. In the face of such a threat, one response was to flee, and to do so as quickly as possible. It is interesting that in the Biblical era φόβος was not understood as a thing or a state of being but as an action. Linguists also note that φόβος addressed a range of situations that we now term anxieties. In terms of the distinction that is made in our times, fear is the response to a known threat where as anxiety is the response to an unknown threat. Either way, Jesus’ word to Jairus is essentially, “Do not flee!” “Do not run away!”

Jesus’ response to Jairus, “Just have faith!” as mentioned earlier is a bit more blunt in the Greek: μόνον πίστευε (monon pisteue). πίστευε, translated as “have faith,” is a verb and here it is in the imperative mood. This can be translated “You must have faith.” Once again, a term that we are familiar with in our culture (faith, a noun) starts as a verb in the Biblical word. In that world, πιστεύω (pisteúō) was originally understood as “trusting in another that sparked obedience in what was heard from the other,” a mouthful for sure. Biblical faith, far from being a crutch to deal with the unexplainable, is a dynamic action wherein I place the direction of my life and all dimensions of that life in the hands of a Person, the Person Jesus. Both Jairus and the Afflicted Woman knew in the depth of their guts that Jesus could be the only object of their trust and of their lives. In doing so, they followed through on what He told them to do – they listened, they obeyed, they acted because they trusted Him.