Friends, today’s Gospel tells of the raising of the daughter of Jairus.
Jesus continues his assault on death, upbraiding the people for their ostentatious moaning and mourning. He is impatient with the whole culture of death, all that has grown up around the supposed finality of death. And this is why he says, “The child is not dead but asleep.” Relativizing death—that is the name of Jesus’ game.
When news arrives that the child has died, the suggestion comes that Jesus should not be troubled any further. But Jesus says to the leader of the synagogue: “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” There, in a nutshell, is the Gospel: a passion for the impossible, a firm belief that the reign of death is ended. Faith replaces fear.
The Talitha koum (“little girl, get up”) is a reminder of the absolute centrality of resurrection in the Jesus event. God is the Lord and giver of life, and he accordingly battles all those forces of death that bedevil us.