It is the last few words of today’s gospel that really stand out for me. [Jesus] told them to give [the girl] something to eat. It was such a simple thing that Jesus noticed amid the turmoil and excitement of what had happened – a little girl who had been sick to her death, might be just a bit hungry. A small detail indeed, but it shows just how attentive Jesus was to even the littlest of things that might assist in giving life to someone. Not just in the miraculous, but also in the mundane; where life was needed, there was Jesus.

In all things, and for all whom he encountered, Jesus brought nothing but life from death.

Death and life are at the heart of the mission of Jesus. Whether it was a transformation from disability, or illness, or mental disorder, or poverty, or plain old sin that Jesus offered – all of these were movements from death to life; from being lost to being found; from broken to healed. As Jesus said to Nicodemus early on in his mission:

For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. (John 3:16)

That’s the promise that Jesus has been given to us through his own journey from death to life. He is the Crucified, Risen One: the gift of life for us, through his own sacrificed life.

Sometimes, we can miss the wood for the trees. We can get all excited by the miraculous – or hanker after manifestations of it – and miss seeing the greater gift of life that belief in Jesus offers and provides. It is the life that comes when walking out the door of the confessional with our sins forgiven, or the life of a phone call in the midst of a lockdown. It is the life that comes as consolation when sitting quietly in prayer, or the life of a word that brings much needed honesty. It is the life that comes when reaching out to a neighbour in need, or the life of a gesture of trust offered when frightened or anxious.

It is the life that came by way of a meal for a little girl who had died, and it is the life constantly and faithfully given by Him who died on the cross that all of us might live. I wonder how often we notice that the Crucified, Risen One is also saying to us: Talitha, kum: my child, get up.

I admit, I do not listen enough for this constant invitation to life from Jesus; I do not notice enough the signs of life he provides. Perhaps we all have this problem, the problem of not trusting enough in him who proved his credentials by taking the marks of our death onto the cross.

Today, I find myself remembering someone else who longed for life, as we remember the little girl whose life was saved – from the cross, Jesus promised to his friend crucified with him, who died hoping for forgiveness, “today you will be with me in eternal life”. A little girl and a hardened criminal, and everyone in between – all of them, and all of us, can come to have life in the life-giving mission of Jesus.

Image: Resurrection of Jairus' Daughter (980-993) by Master of the Registrum Gregorii, Manuscript illumination (Germany)