She’d spent the last twelve years hiding in the shadows.
She didn’t want to be noticed. Nobody wanted to see her.
Any woman who lost blood was declared unclean.
Most were able to return to society in a matter of days;
but this woman, as days became months and the months years
her continuous loss of blood made her company unacceptable.
She was the invisible woman;
hidden for twelve years in the shadows of untouchability;
her body losing blood, her pocket losing money,
as medics transfused all she had
to the benefit of themselves alone,
offering her nothing but empty hope in return.
What’s the point?
There’s no point. There’s no option left.
Well, that’s not quite true.
Someone had disembarked on the shore;
and loads of people gathered around him in intense excitement.
It was Jesus of Nazareth,
the radical rabbi who kept company with low-life; prostitutes, tax-collectors. Jesus of Nazareth, who upset scribes because his learning was greater.
Jesus of Nazareth, who saw through the pseudo-piety of Pharisees,
the same ones that had decreed her to be unclean.
Jesus of Nazareth, the leper-hugging rabbi who touched the untouchable,
who might just be able to do something?
it was worth a try.
Mustn’t be seen; just creep into the crowd
and hope that no one recognises her.
she couldn’t go up to him directly and ask;
she’d lost the confidence to talk to anyone,
she’d been ignored by so many for so long..
But to have the chance to touch His clothes might……who knows?
“Who touched me?”
“Don’t be silly, Rabbi –
you’re hemmed in, they’re ALL touching you!” But Jesus insisted; someone had reached-out to touch the hem of his clothing.He felt that someone was reaching out to him in need;and, just for a second or two, he felt drained.
The pain had gone; she felt alive.
She hadn’t felt this good for twelve years!
She came clean.
Trembling, and afraid she might have upset him,
she knelt and apologised to Jesus of Nazareth
and told him the whole sorry tale.
“Go in peace and be free from this illness”
Can you imagine how she felt on hearing those words?!
“Go in peace and be free…….”
… the account of this untouchable woman has touched millions
since she got into print in Mark’s Gospel.
And today, her story is told again churches throughout the world
God’s Touching Place…where our hands reach out to touch Jesus
in Scripture and in The Blessed Sacrament,
in the hope that he might touch our lives and others’ lives through us;
in the place where God touches the hearts, minds and wills of us, His disciples.
As He was two thousand years ago,
Jesus is today on the shore, making His way towards our hearts,
waiting for us to reach out to Him
in anticipation of prayers to be answered,
hopes to be realised,
bodies and minds to be healed.
Is there anything that has been unresolved in your life;
a situation that is not getting better?
A difficult relationship with someone
you find hard to love, like, or with whom to agree?
Is there something or someone at work, at school,
or in your family you find disabling?
Or perhaps something in yourself,
an attitude, a perennial problem,
a besetting sin that comes up again and again,
an addiction perhaps,
an over-reliance on something which is getting the better of you…..
that you would welcome help to change
or even to learn to accept?
Reach out to Jesus as you and He come together at the Altar.
Reach out today, and every time you come to Mass,
and hear Him say to you “Go in peace and be free…….”
P.H.N.C. 1st July 2018
“To the Lost Christ shows His face,
to the unloved He gives His embrace;
To those who cry in pain or disgrace,
Christ makes, with His Friends,
a Touching Place”
© 1989 The Iona Community