The Woman with a a Hemorrhage

MARK 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered round him and he stayed by the lakeside. Then one of the synagogue officials came up, Jairus by name, and seeing him, fell at his feet and pleaded with him earnestly, saying, ‘My little daughter is desperately sick. Do come and lay your hands on her to make her better and save her life.’ Jesus went with him and a large crowd followed him; they were pressing all round him.

                Now there was a woman who had suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years; after long and painful treatment under various doctors, she spent all she had without being any the better for it, in fact, she was getting worse. She had heard about Jesus, and she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his cloak. ‘If I can touch even his clothes,’ she had told herself ‘I shall be well again.’ And the source of the bleeding dried up instantly, and she felt in herself that she was cured of her complaint. Immediately aware that power had gone out from him, Jesus turned round in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ His disciples said to him, ‘You see how the crowd is pressing round you and yet you say, “Who touched me?”’ But he continued to look all round to see who had done it. Then the woman came forward, frightened and trembling because she knew what had happened to her, and she fell at his feet and told him the whole truth. ‘My daughter,’ he said ‘your faith has restored you to health; go in peace and be free from your complaint.’

                While he was still speaking some people arrived from the house of the synagogue official to say, ‘Your daughter is dead: why put the Master to any further trouble?’ But Jesus had overheard this remark of theirs and he said to the official, ‘Do not be afraid; only have faith.’ And he allowed no one to go with him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. So they came to the official’s house and Jesus noticed all the commotion, with people weeping and wailing unrestrainedly. He went in and said to them, ‘Why all this commotion and crying? The child is not dead, but asleep.’ But they laughed at him. So he turned them all out and, taking with him the child’s father and mother and his own companions, he went into the place where the child lay. And taking the child by the hand he said to her, ‘Talitha, kum!’ which means, ‘Little girl, I tell you to get up.’ The little girl got up at once and began to walk about, for she was twelve years old. At this they were overcome with astonishment, and he ordered them strictly not to let anyone know about it and told them to give her something to eat.

This is one of my favorite bible passages. Why? Because I can so closely relate to the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ cloak. At this weekend’s Mass, I learned more about the passage than I knew or thought about before. The passage starts off with, “When Jesus crossed in the boat to the other side,” In Jewish writing “crossing over to the other side” meant there was going to be a life lesson taking place, something new for the person to learn. This bible passage is like a sandwich of stories, one account placed between the beginning and end of other. One, where the woman suffered for twelve years at the hands of many doctors and spend all her money, only to get worse and the other, a young girl of twelve years old. Both took a leap of a faith and risking public ridicule. In both cases only a seed of faith, caused healing. The woman believed if she only reached out and touched the hem of Jesus’ cloak she would be healed. The faith the young girl’s mother and father, Jairus, a synagogue official, risking his standing in the Jewish church, believed if they only asked Jesus to their home. One account the woman reached out and touched Jesus, the other account Jesus reached out and touched. Both touches caused healing.

I didn’t have a hemorrhage for 12 years, but I did suffer with chronic yeast infection for 24 years. Any person who ever experienced a yeast infection knows the hell it can cause in your life. I tried many different medications, I took daily prescriptions, I saw doctors as far away as Milwaukee, WI, and to no avail. I felt things were just getting worse. Then our parish was hosting a Healing Mass with Anointing of the Sick being done for those in attendance. I decided I need to go. When the time came to go to the front to be anointed, I hesitated, everyone else was much older, appeared to be sicker and worse off than me. Then I felt a gentle touch on my shoulder nudging me forward. No one was near me, but I felt encouragement to move forward. Last in line, finally it was my turn to be anointed. I can’t put into words the feeling I felt but I knew I was healed. I was almost afraid to hope I could be healed. To be healed of this burden. That was 23 years ago, no pills, no doctor appts, no pain, nothing. I am healed. I am a product of a miracle.

I love the words of Jesus, “Who touched me?” I smile at His disciples saying to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing round you and yet you say, “Who touched me?”’ Once again Jesus must think to himself, “You just don’t get it yet? You don’t realize who I am.” I try to imagine the draining of healing power flowing from Jesus. He physically felt it.

Pope Francis said, “Faith is not a light which scatters all our darkness, but a lamp which guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey. To those who suffer, God does not provide arguments which explain everything; rather, his response is that of an accompanying presence, a history of goodness which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light.

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