At the garment’s hem

I’ve always admired the woman who suffered from a hemorrhage in Mark’s gospel (Mk 5: 25-34). Even when most of the world would call her situation hopeless, she had such a strong belief in Jesus and his power to cure her.

I can’t imagine what her suffering must have been like in that era. Day after day with no relief, weak from her illness, she sought aid, only to be left worse. The story indicates that she “exhausted her savings in the process,” so while she may have been a woman of means, she was still subject to adversity. But she did have the gift of hope, as she kept going to “doctors of every sort.”  It was this hope that brought her to Jesus. However, it was her faith that ultimately healed her. She did not seek an audience with Jesus, nor did she cry out to Him. She did not even reach for His hand, just the hem of His garment. At that brief moment her fingertips brushed over a few threads, she was healed.

The moment the woman was healed, Jesus asked who touched Him. Trembling, the woman explained the story. Jesus was not angry with her, rather He wanted an interaction with her. In curing the sick, Jesus spoke with them and touched them; it was a personal exchange. Jesus soothes her fears by calling her ‘daughter’ and telling her to “Go in peace and be free of this illness.”

My daily struggles are but a mere inconvenience in comparison to stories like that of the unnamed woman in Mark’s story. Yet I still seek relief from those challenges. I do turn to God in thought, prayer and action, knowing it is He that sustains me. As I approach the Eucharist, I know that Jesus is present: body, blood, soul and divinity, in the tiniest of crumbs of the host or a single drop of the precious blood. In that moment, I am like that woman seeking healing with the slightest of touches. The encounter is enough to bring me peace. It may not solve all my woes, but it does give me the strength to keep moving forward.

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