When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.”
So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.
Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly.
When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Imagine losing blood for twelve years, constantly feeling week or in pain. Then imagine that, instead of being comforted and cared for by your family or friends, you were ostracized from your community. In Jesus’ time, someone who was bleeding like the woman in today’s Gospel was considered ritually unclean and was not allowed to take part in community and religious life.
Our society today doesn’t have the same set of guidelines for ritual cleanliness, but we often cling to unwritten rules of who is “clean” or who is worthy of our care and respect. We tend to separate or exclude people through our thoughts and actions rather than through codified law. Whether it is based on mental illness, socioeconomic status, race, gender, immigration status, or any number of other categories, we sometimes look at our community as those who are the same as us in all ways.
How can we break down the barriers that divide us as people as Christ did? How can we offer peace and comfort to someone who feels excluded? How can we be Christ for someone on the outside looking in?
—The Jesuit Prayer team
Lord, touch our minds so anxiety and self-doubt are calmed. Touch our hearts, so compassion and forgiveness direct our behavior. Touch our bodies so we move with confidence. And touch our souls so we recognize the blessings of this day. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
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