Encountering God and World in Scriptures

Light of truth

Lectio Divina 14

Fr Martin Kallungal

“And suddenly there came a man named Jairus, who was president of the synagogue. He fell at Jesus’ feet and pleaded with him to come to his house,because he had an only daughter about twelve years old, who was dying. And the crowds were almost stifling Jesus as he went. Now there was a woman suffering from a haemorrhage for the past twelve years, whom no one had been able to cure. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak; and the haemorrhage stopped at that very moment. Jesus said, ‘Who was it that touched me?’ When they all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, it is the crowds round you, pushing.’ But Jesus said, ‘Somebody touched me. I felt that power had gone out from me.’ Seeing herself discovered, the woman came forward trembling, and falling at his feet explained in front of all the people why she had touched him and how she had been cured at that very moment. ‘My daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has saved you; go in peace.’ While he was still speaking, someone arrived from the house of the president of the synagogue to say, ‘Your daughter has died. Do not trouble the Master any further.’ But Jesus heard this, and he spoke to the man, ‘Do not be afraid, only have faith and she will be saved.’ When he came to the house he allowed no one to go in with him except Peter and John and James, and the child’s father and mother.They were all crying and mourning for her, but Jesus said, ‘Stop crying; she is not dead, but asleep.’ But they ridiculed him, knowing she was dead.But taking her by the hand himself he spoke to her, ‘Child, get up.’ And her spirit returned and she got up at that very moment. Then he told them to give her something to eat” (Lk. 8:41-55).

In this passage, Luke narrates a story with another story within it. There are striking similarities and continuities in these two powerful healing stories. While the haemorrhaging woman touched the fringe of Jesus’ cloak, the girl is touched by Jesus. Both the woman and the girl-child are referred to as daughter.The girl dies at the age of twelve while the woman is suffering from a twelve-years-old sickness. In both stories Jesus makes explicit reference to faith, which brings about healing. Both are healed and restored to community. In both stories there are many other people who neither believe in Jesus nor receive any benefit from him.Let us take from these, for instance, ‘touch’ for our sustained reflection. In both cases, it is touch that made a change. But, a couple of things are to be noted: first, what is required is: touching Jesus or being touched by Jesus. Second, intentionality of the touch is important. The crowd which rounded and pushed Jesus did touch him, but for nothing. The parents and others who nursed the girl should have touched her many times. The touch that healed had the intention of healing; it doesn’t matter who intends. Third, one must touch/touched; it doesn’t matter when and where. The woman touched on the hem only; and the girl was touched when she was dead. Fourth, it is faith that touches Jesus’ heart. Jairus’ faith and the woman’s faith touched Jesus; and, the healing and enlivening power immediately gushed out on them. Fifth, faith-touch relationship in this passage reminds us of the one thing that is necessary in Christian life: personal experiential dimension of faith.

O’ my loving Father, bless me this day with the gift of faith so that I may touch your Son and be touched by Him. Father, I realize that I have wasted all my natural gifts on self-help tips, friends, and different panaceas. No one could cure me, and I am nearing death. Lord, come to my assistance. Lord, I have read the Bible cover to cover. But, nothing in it seems to have touched me to this day. Give me a word, O’ Lord, as you allowed the haemorrhaging woman to touch the fringe of your cloak, and, teach me to think through it till I touch and am touched by you, the source the word.

Bring all the long-time pains in your life to your active consciousness. Join the crowd that rounds Jesus, and, slide in till you can gently touch the fringe of his cloak. Now, tell your heart, enough! He has seen you! Feel now the inflow of his healing power in your veins. The spirt that left you is now returning to you!

Take the phrase, “child, get up!” and say it over manytimes to yourself. This divine phrase brings spirit back to life. With strong faith in and passionate love for Jesus, repeat this phrase powerfully and prayerfully each time you are down with sin, sickness and failures.

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