By Elizabeth Baumann
A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew 9:18-26
18 While he was saying these things to them, suddenly a leader of the synagogue came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 And Jesus got up and followed him, with his disciples. 20 Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for 12 years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. 23 When Jesus came to the leader’s house and saw the flute-players and the crowd making a commotion, 24 he said, “Go away; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. 25 But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl got up. 26 And the report of this spread throughout that district.
The story of the woman who’s healed in the midst of Jesus going to raise Jairus’s daughter has been with me a lot lately. I bet many of us can relate to her more than we’ve considered before. She knows she needs Jesus, but she thinks too little of herself and her need to bother him by asking the way others in the gospels do. She comes up with this plan to just touch the hem of his garment. It’s the smallest bit of contact she can imagine. She’s made up her mind to settle for the least that will do.
And it works! Because Jesus is Jesus, the littlest bit that she could imagine is more than enough. That littlest bit communicated tremendous faith. Yet notice how Jesus reacts. He didn’t have to react at all. He could have known supernaturally, if he’d wanted to, who touched him. He could have let her be as anonymous as she planned to be. But he also knew she needed more than just to be healed; she needed to be noticed, to be seen. He stops, stops even in the middle of going to raise a dead child, to take the time to look at her, to talk with her, to make sure that her story is known.
She’s another woman in the gospels whose name we don’t know, but we know her story of faith and we know what Jesus did for her. She asked only for the barest thing she could think of, but Jesus made time and space for her, and he did it even though it meant making a dead child’s father wait. Shouldn’t that give us confidence to ask him for more ourselves?
Elizabeth Baumann is a seminary graduate, a priest’s wife, and the mother of two small daughters. A transplant from the West Coast, she now lives in “the middle of nowhere” in the Midwest with too many cats.
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Today we pray for:
The Diocese of Gasabo (Eglise Anglicane du Rwanda)
The Diocese of Washington