The Touch of Jesus

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 5:21-43.

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.


Reflection

Our Gospel this Sunday portrays Jesus as the healer. He goes around manifesting His power and authority over human ills, and in our story today heals a woman suffering from hemorrhage and restores the life of a young girl. Jesus who preaches the coming of the Kingdom backs up His claim with marvelous signs of healing.

These healings happened through the experience of touch. The woman fought her way through the crowd, and with faith in her heart, believed that touching just His clothes would heal her. This continues on today in the many devotees and believers who, wishing that their prayers be granted, touch objects and relics that are connected to the Divine and the Saints. Jesus took the girl’s hand and raised her up from death, telling her to “arise”!

Our encounter with Jesus should not be limited to lip service but should touch us in our deepest consciousness. Jesus’ wishes to touch those whose hearts have been bleeding for years and those who have fallen into spiritual death. His touch leads to faith, and from this faith all fears are dispelled and restores our wholeness. From the dirt of our fears and sickness, Jesus extends His hands to touch us today, lifts us up with His consoling words, “arise”! 


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