There is one simple verse in this coming Sunday’s gospel that deserves some reflection. “Daughter, your faith has saved you.” (Mark 5:34). At their core, the concerns and dynamics surrounding ritual uncleanliness, especially leprosy, bodily discharge, or touching corpses, were about relationships. They put one outside of the community. When Jesus calls the woman who touched him “daughter,” he establishes a relationship with one with whom he should not have a relationship. Her illness made her unclean. Her attempts to be healed by doctors made her impoverished. Her brazen invasion of Jesus’ space, touching Jesus’ clothes, “technically” made Jesus’ unclean and could have resulted in him condemning her. Yet by calling her “daughter,” he established the same kind of relationship with her as Jairus has with his “daughter.” He would do anything possible to save his daughter.
Jesus addressing the woman as “daughter,” suggests that she now has a personal relationship to Jesus as one of his family (3:35). She is one who does the will of God. Stoffregen writes: “The persistence of Jesus in discovering who touched him rivals the woman’s persistence in reaching Jesus. She wants a cure, whereas Jesus desires a personal encounter with someone. He is not content to dispatch a miracle; he wants to encounter a person. In the kingdom of God, miracles lead to meeting. Discipleship is not simply getting our needs met; it is being in the presence of Jesus, being known by him, and following him. … In a way the woman cannot yet know, the desire for healing and wholeness is the desire for Jesus.”
The final words spoken to the woman, “Go in peace,” while a traditional leave-taking, are here informed by her entire experience. The peace with which she departed signified more than release from agitation over a wretched existence or from fear of recrimination for having touched Jesus. It was the profound experience of well-being which is related to salvation from God. When Jesus declares, “be cured of your affliction,” he confirms that her healing was permanent and affirms his active participation with the Father’s will to honor the woman’s faith.
The woman had experienced an aspect of salvation in anticipation of the more radical healing to be experienced by the daughter of Jairus.