January 31, 2012 - Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest

Today's Readings

In the readings today we see the remarkable love of the father for his son. Absalom had rebelled against David and stolen the kingdom from him. He slept with David's wives. He killed his half-brother, David's son. He started a war, and chased his father from Jerusalem. Today we hear the end of that war, when the officers of David triumph in battle, and kill Absalom. David is not excited to hear that he is beaten the rebels; he mourns the death of his son. He never stopped loving his son Absalom, despite Absalom's ungrateful attitude toward him.

In the Gospel, we see a father who is willing to do anything to save his daughter. He comes to Jesus, and falls at his feet, and begs him. Jairus was an important man, but he forgets all dignity and all pride when it comes to pleading for his daughter's life.

It is this word “daughter” that links the two stories in the Gospel today. Jairus is concerned for the life of his daughter, and when Jesus speaks to the woman he says to her “Daughter, your faith has saved you.” It is by this sentence that we can be certain that Jesus felt toward that woman as Jairus did toward his daughter, as David did toward Absalom. God loves us as a parent loves their child, or rather, more than that.

What did David say when he heard that Absalom had been killed? “My son, my son Absalom, if only I had died instead of you!” Surely this feeling was shared by Jairus, as it is shared by so many parents whose children have died, as it was shared by our Father in heaven. God came down from heaven to earth and actually did die instead of us.

Since Jesus died for us, we may still die in this body, but there is no reason why our souls have to die too. He proves this by raising Jairus's daughter back to life. We can be sure that God has power even over death. We can be sure that he loves us and every single person he created. Is it possible to doubt then that he will raise to new life not only the daughter of Jairus but every child who has ever lived and died? There will be a resurrection for everyone who does not reject their Father's love.