From our Coordinator of Youth Faith Formation, Clare DeWitt…

For most of my life, growing up in my family of nine, my two younger sisters and I have been referred to as the “three little girls”. My older siblings, parents, aunts, and grandparents all would collectively call us this title. And as a kid I always cringed when I would hear that name because I always had a desire to be five years older than I was. I would go out of my way to prove how independent I could be and how I was not so “little” any more. 

One of the gospel passages from this past week, though, strikes me quite differently now than it used to. Jesus is stopped during one of his days of ministry by a man named Jairus, who is a leader and a synagogue official, and asks for Jesus’ help in healing his daughter. Jesus makes his way to his house but by the time that He arrives, the little girl has been pronounced dead. 

All hope had been lost at that moment. The family that had gathered had already succumbed to grief and discouragement, even though they knew Jesus, a great Teacher and Healer, was on his way. Even when Jesus tries to offer hope, “…Why this weeping? The child is not dead, just asleep” (Mk 5:39), the family laughs at him and openly rejects it. 

Yet Jesus is undeterred by their ridiculing and believes in His Father’s heart for this moment. He goes straight to the daughter. I can just imagine that moment, where Jesus leans over to her bed and He says lovingly, “Talitha Koum…” Little girl, Arise! 

Little girl. The first time I read this passage, my eyes went straight to that phrase. 

With our parish focusing on healing, something that I have discovered in my life is that healing can only start when we are ready to listen to Jesus’ voice. If the only voices in that home had been the crowds, with their lack of hope and disbelief, the little girl would have stayed dead. It’s only when Jesus comes to speak, that she awakens. That she is alive. 

There are places and wounds in our lives that we can often feel as though we are stuck, hopeless, or even lifeless. And if we surround ourselves with discouragement or negative voices, we might feel that there will never be new life or a way to move forward. Our world is very good at convincing us that hope is for the naive or for wishful thinking. 

But Jesus’ voice? It is always one of hope, of peace, of encouragement. When I hear Jesus say, “Little Girl” in this passage,  I don’t feel the need to cringe or justify myself. I feel seen. And it’s when I start listening to that voice and looking for the ways He is moving in my life that I receive the hope to move forward in being healed from past wounds, sins, and baggage that I have carried in my life. 

We all hear His voice differently, whether  we hear Him speak through nature, music, a friend, during Mass, while reading scripture, or maybe even in silence. Before I can start looking for the way He is speaking in my life, I need to decide that I’m ready to listen. Instead of focusing my attention on how things are going wrong, a situation that seems to never change, or feeling guilty of the same things over and over again, I decide to receive the hope that I know Jesus has for me. 

When I am patient and ready to listen and yes, even willing to be called, “little girl” once more I have found the hope that I know the Lord wants to offer to all His children. It’s this kind of hope that helps me believe that new life is possible, even in the most discouraging of circumstances. It’s in this kind of hope we can experience healing. 

To listening together, 

Clare DeWitt

Youth Faith Formation