Saint for the day: John Bosco (August 16, 1815 – January 31, 1888)
Hebrews 12:1-4 – Psalm 22 – Mark 5:21-43
“Jesus says to the women with the hemorrhage, ‘… your faith has saved you” and to the crowd outside the synagogue official’s house, ‘Do not be afraid; just have faith.” (Mark Chapter 5)
Today’s Gospel gives us a “touching” scene. Actually two, very different perspectives of “touch.” The first, a very clandestine, almost hidden “touch,” the other a very upfront, noisy scene. But both miracles happen in the context of crowds which reminds us that even if we sneak up behind Jesus to touch the hem of his garment or meet him during a more public assembly, “the touch” – wither initiated by us or by Him is the basis of our healing encounter.
Mark’s Gospel is like the screenplay for an epic movie or, perhaps, an opera. His sense of setting one scene up against another very different one is not lost to us, the audience. But we’re not just left to “watch” but we are meant to grasp something of what it means to “meet Jesus.”
In both of these cases Jesus flaunts Jewish laws: he comes in contact with a women with a hemorrhage – not allowed; and he touches a supposedly dead body – another no-no. The only taboo missing in these scenes is that we’re not told that it was on a Sabbath, which would technically be a kind of “three strikes and you’re out!” scene, which is more common in the healing of Jesus.
Bottom line? There are times when the best we can do is try to remain anonymous and not stand out when it comes to our relationship with Jesus/God. It’s like when we come to Holy Communion and say, “Lord, I am not worthy … but just say the word…”
Then, there are other situations when we encounter Jesus in a more pubic way in the midst of a crowd.
In the late 60’s I came into contact with a then renowned “faith healer,” Kathryn Kuhlman. Her miracle services at the huge Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium filled the 7, 000 seat arena to overflowing. Her “theme song” was, “I have touched the hem of his garment, and His love has made me whole.”
In those services there were many who publically came up to the stage to “give testimony” of their healing but still many more who experienced healing in different ways. Yet, in all of this we still have to remember that physical healings – no matter how dramatic they are – don’t last forever. I mean, even Lazarus must have died again!
So, our “bottom, bottom line” has to be on a more profound level that goes beyond the physical. That “touch” – wither secretly or more publicly – has to heal something in us more than just the outward, physical appearance. Whenever we seek healing we have to remember that we are healed in order to know on a more profound level that God has touched us in order for us to know Him more deeply and follow him more nearly. Amen!