By Sr. Marguerite Kelly, mfic
Our Gospel has one healing narrative interrupted by a second. The opening story is about the little daughter of a synagogue’s official, who is sick at home. While Jesus is responding to that explicit and public request, a woman who is having a loss of blood privately reaches out physically for her healing. To more fully understand the woman’s condition and her reaching out just to touch the fringe of Jesus’ garment, confer Leviticus, chapter fifteen, verse 19-29. Blood was regarded in the Jewish tradition as a participation in the life of God; it was the source of life itself. Any loss of blood by a woman made her unclean no matter what the cause, even child birth and she was not to be touched until she regained a state of purity according to ritual practices.
The woman is desperate, having tried everything and exhausting her finances. Jesus was her last resort and death would be her final end without His saving solution. She had made a gesture of faith and by her faith in Him, she was healed. As with most healings, it was the beginning of her going elsewhere and living in peace according to the new purifying experience of believing in Jesus’ saving person and mission. She had been honest and so was Jesus.
Jesus’ journey to the house of the official was interrupted, but his mission continued. There arises a bit of dramatic tension as Jesus arrives at the official’s house. Mourners are assembled outside the house according to custom. They believe the child has died, Jesus has come for life. The faith of the father of the girl has allowed Jesus to continue the girl’s life. They switch from mourning to mockery as He enters and speaks words of gentle power. “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” He is touching her with His hands and words. She, as with the woman who was healed, gets up and gets back to her living.
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