27 June 2015

THE TOUCH THAT HEALS

XIII SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24; 2 corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15; mark 5:21-43

a business executive was depressed. the situation at work was not good. he was bringing his problems home: every evening he would eat his dinner in silence, shutting out his wife and five-year-old daughter; then he would go into the den and read the paper... using the newspaper to wall his family out of his life. 
one evening, after several such nights, his daughter pushed the newspaper down with her little hand, jumped into his lap, wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him tight. the father said: «honey, you are squeezing me to death!» the little girl said: «no, daddy, i’m hugging you to life!»

that’s what JESUS did!
he took people as they were—needy and hurting—and hugged them to life. that’s what JESUS does in today’s dramatic passage, where we have two healing stories rolled into one. in each situation, his touch makes the person whole: his touch stops the woman’s haemorrhage, and she is healed. his touch brings the corpse back to life, and the young girl gets out of bed. 
JESUS loves into life and wholeness these two vastly different people.

JESUS brings wholeness not just to individuals... because this story is not merely about these two daughters of israel. it’s about the creation of a new israel.
mark has seeded this story with clues. how long had the woman been bleeding? twelve years. how old was the little girl? twelve years. every jewish person reading this story would see the repetition of the number twelve as a symbol of the twelve tribes of israel.
GOD wants his people to live full lives; he wants us to share his life forever. as the first reading says: «GOD takes no pleasure in the extinction of the living.» 

all of us, in some way or another, are constantly in need of GOD’s healing. will i touch the «fringe of his garment» and will i allow him to take me «by the hand»? 
may we hear his words «talitha koum» addressed to each one of us, and experience healing and wholeness. and may we, in turn, touch others to health and wholeness.