June 27, 2021 at Saint Peter and Saint William Churches in Naples, FL
Wisdom 1, 13-15, 2, 23-24 + Psalm 30 + 2 Corinthians 8, 7, 9, 13-15 + Mark 5, 21-43
Jesus calls that woman who is unclean, “daughter,” and with that she is healed of her affliction. Of course, her affliction is far more than a hemorrhage. It is far more than the fact that her medical bills have used up everything she had. Her real affliction is her isolation, the separation from family and her community brought on by this hemorrhage which was so horrible and defiling at the time. No one there would have touched her for fear of becoming unclean. In fact, they would have run her off had she not been sneaking around. But Jesus calls her, “Daughter”. With that, all is well and a relationship that was broken by this illness is healed and she is restored.
Around this incident, there is another that reveals the work and the will of God. A man whose name is given because he is so well known comes desperately to Jesus. This is a man of power and influence, but at the moment, he is just a father terrified over the thought of losing his daughter. So, we get two daughters today and a father who cares more about his child than about his dignity as he falls down on the ground at the feet of Jesus.
For us who proclaim this Gospel today, Jairus becomes an image of God the Father who will go to any lengths for his children to be rescued from death even to the point of humbling himself to become one of us. It may help to understand the message of this Gospel to know that the Greek word Mark uses for both of these healings is: σώσει which has two meanings: to cure and to save.
The saving work of Jesus Christ is the work of healing what is broken. It is the work of restoring us to the Father. It is the work of restoring life when there has been death. It is the work of healing the broken family of human kind, that because of sin finds us all bankrupt and helpless as we try remedy after remedy to find what we all most desire: a chance to touch Jesus Christ. This daughter who is bleeding finds hope, healing, and salvation because the one she touches will bleed for her.
We who dare to approach this altar might come humbly like Jairus full of hope and faith. We pray for ourselves like that woman, and we pray for one another as did this loving father. Some may come secretly like the woman with needs no one sees longing to simply touch and find healing salvation. And touch we shall as we reach out and touch the saving Body of Christ in Communion. We are all ordinary believers in a crowd who cannot claim extraordinary experiences of conscious direct encounter with our Lord in unmistakable and dramatic ways. Yet, we do sometimes touch him with all the modesty the word “touch” carries. Let’s reach out today, for as long as can remain in communion we know like the one he called his “daughter” that we shall be well again.