The Long Play

The gospel for today comes from Mark 5:21-443 which includes account of the raising of Jairus’ daughter from death (Mk 5:21-24, 35-43), and falling between the segments, the account of Jesus healing of woman who was “afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.” It is an unusual structure to be sure, but I think there is a point in the way Mark has told the story: (a) it happened that way, and (b) the internal symmetry of the two accounts: the healing of a woman who has lived with the impingement of death anticipates the healing of a girl who has actually experienced death.

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The Power of Touch

Mark-5-two-miraclesA woman “afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years…She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.’”

This has been a busy week pastorally speaking – more so as we are more open in this (hopefully) post-pandemic period. It has been one of those weeks when tragedy, misfortune, fate, calamity, heart break, and adversity all seem to set up camp in the parish.  Almost all the stories are profoundly personal, and however illustrative and grace filled, are not for retelling in a homily. Continue reading

Crossing over: one healed

Mark-5-two-miraclesFear and Peace. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

Why would the woman approach in “fear and trembling?” Perkins [588] provides a wonderful explanation that I will simply offer in whole: Continue reading

Crossing over: the healer

Mark-5-two-miraclesThe Healer. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?”

In the controversy stories, Jesus shows himself aware of the inner thoughts and motives of his opponents, yet in the very same moment of healing, Jesus realized that “power had gone out from him” and seems unaware of the woman at all. This is an unusual expression which occurs only in Mark’s Gospel. We are perhaps surprised that Jesus seems to be caught unaware and that this power is not under his conscious control. The idea of dynamis (power) is intrinsic and constitutional in the biblical concept of the personal God. As Lane [192-3] notes: “Jesus possesses the power of God as the representative of the Father. Nevertheless, the Father remains in control of his own power. The healing of the woman occurred through God’s free and gracious decision to bestow upon her the power which was active in Jesus. By an act of sovereign will God determined to honor the woman’s faith in spite of the fact that it was tinged with ideas which bordered on magic.” Continue reading