This reflection encourages youth to consider that Jesus never promised us a life free from hardship. But he doesn’t expect us to try to survive on our own. He wants to help us.
Start by playing the game How Good Are Your Survival Skills? This game focuses on how good we would be at surviving on our own. Allow plenty of time for discussion. Youth will want to debate about their choices. 🙂
After determining how everyone did in the game, start with some opening questions:
- Have you ever thought about trying to survive on your own?
- Do you think you would do OK in a survival situation, or would you need to be rescued?
- Do you think survival would be easier as an individual or in a group? Why?
Hopefully none of us will ever find ourselves in a disaster situation where we need to be rescued. But if we do, imagine how you would feel when the first responders showed up. You’d be relieved and grateful, right?
Read the gospel:
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.
[There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” But his disciples said to Jesus, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”]
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; just have faith.”
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out.
He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.Mark 5:21-43 or Mark 5:21-24, 35b-43
In this gospel, we hear of two people desperately in need of rescue.
The woman with the hemorrhages had been suffering for years. Basically she was constantly bleeding. It is important to understand that in Jewish culture of the time, blood was life. It was as if her very life was seeping away. And even worse, the blood made her ritually impure, and she could not go into the temple to worship until it stopped. She was cut off from her faith community and was desperate to be healed.
The synagogue official’s daughter was already gravely ill when he approached Jesus. By the time they reached the house, it was reported that she was dead. It seemed all hope was lost. But Jesus had other plans.
In both of these cases, the people involved had sought other options first. The woman with the hemorrhages had sought help from the doctors and they had only made things worse. And we can assume that the synagogue official also sought medical help for his daughter.
You can imagine how fear and hopelessness could take over here. But instead of giving up, they turned to Jesus for rescue. The woman by touching the hem of our Lord’s garment. And the father by asking Jesus to come heal his daughter. They are acknowledging that they can’t handle these difficult situations on their own.
- Do you ever feel like you are just barely surviving?
- Have you ever needed God to rescue you from a difficult situation?
- Did you turn to God first, or did you try other options?
- Why do we hesitate to ask God for help?
- Is there someone who can encourage you to turn to God when you are struggling?
This week, keep your eyes and heart open to see where you or a friend is struggling to survive. Turn to prayer first. Believe that God will present a solution and be open to what that solution might be. Remember that you are not alone. Turn to Jesus and look to your faith community for support.
Close with the prayer Prayer to God My Hope in Time of Fear which is based on Psalm 30. It reminds us to turn to God for help and praises God for the many times when he has rescued us.