June 27, 2021
Reach out and touch someone the phone company used to say. Did they really mean touch someone? No, of course not. It was about "staying in touch." In other words, stay close, close enough to touch.
In our Gospel, a Synagogue official, Jairus has a daughter that is dying. He asks Jesus if he would touch his daughter to heal her. To lay hands on her. She is not right there, and he wants Jesus to go to where she is so that he can do this. Eventually Jesus does go and does not lay hands on her but takes her hand and asks her to "arise," and she stands up and walks around. Was it the physical touch of Jesus that healed her, or had the healing begun as soon as her dad, Jairus, prayed and had faith that God would heal her?
What is your faith like? When you ask God for something, doesn't it seem sometimes that God is not listening? That nothing seems to be happening? Could it be that the answer to our prayers, our healing, doesn't need the physical touch of Jesus to happen? But it does need our faith and Jesus works through us and answers our prayers, heals us because of our continued faith?
Jesus is telling us today that that's how it is! We do not know how it works. There is plenty of mystery. And our prayers are not always answered in exactly the way we ask. But doesn't it make sense to do as Jesus instructs and continue our faith? To entrust ourselves to Jesus.
I am sure that Jairus prayed before he even thought about coming to Jesus. But his daughter kept getting sicker. He didn't lose faith but continued his prayer and asked this new Rabbi in town, Jesus, to heal her. And he did. If he lost faith too early, he never would have asked Jesus.
Next we have the woman with a hemorrhage for 12 years. At that time in history, she would have been considered "unclean" and not allowed to be around anyone else. People would have feared that if she even touched them, they would become unclean like she was. Her disease made her poor, all money going to doctors and probably not able to earn money since she was "unclean" and no one would hire her.
She touches the robe of Jesus and is healed. Did the healing happen only because she touched Jesus' robe, or had it already begun when she heard about Jesus and had faith that he could heal her?
Neither the young girl nor the woman with the hemorrhage, then, were even aware that Jesus had begun healing them. There were no signs, but the healing was in process. Pope Francis said, "To have access to ... Jesus' heart, there is only one requirement: to feel in need of healing and to entrust yourself to him."
Today we hear the words "just have faith" and they are being used by Jesus and directed at you and I. They are meant to "touch" us. May you and I have undying faith and become empowered to reach out and touch others in a healing way. Amen.