In the Gospel reading today, the courageous woman reaches out and touches the cloak of Christ. This marvelous story is placed in between the telling of another bold man in need whose daughter is dying. These two stories involve people who believe in Jesus’ power to heal. One comes out of love for his child and invites Jesus to come and lay his hands on her so that she may be made well and live. The desperate plea of the father wins Jesus over and he sets out. The other dares to ask for her own needs in order to end her long suffering.
On the way, the woman who has struggled for many years has heard about this Healer, the One we have come to know as the Great Physician. Her faith in Christ was so tremendous that she does not even ask, she simply reaches out to touch him, believing that this gesture will be enough to cure her–and it is. She is immediately healed. Christ knows that power has been taken from him and asks who has touched him. Fearfully, the boldness partially gone from her, the woman owns her action and falls down in front of him, telling him the whole truth. What was that whole truth, I wonder? Did she explain how no one had been able to help her? Was it the many tears she and her family had wept because of her ailment? Perhaps it was her fear that she was dying as she only became worse as the medical professionals failed her. Whatever her truth was, Jesus blessed her and sent her of in peace, affirming her faith and healing her of her disease.
In the meantime, this interchange has delayed him sufficiently that Jarius’ daughter has passed away but Jesus asks that he not fear but also, like this woman, believe. In the midst of the non-believers, Christ takes her hand, because unlike the woman, she cannot touch him. Christ instead now reaches out and touches this child. I wonder if she spent the rest of her life wondering who touched her. Who was this man who touched her and brought her back to the land of the living, who restored her to her family and friends?
Christ touches us and we are never the same. Sometimes, when we are bold enough, we approach his throne of grace and ask on behalf of someone else who needs to be touched. If we are especially brazen, we might reach out and touch Jesus when we are most in need. We might fall down on our knees in fear, awe, and gratitude and tell the whole truth. These moments are when our faith makes us well and we can go in peace, healed of what afflicted us. May you find the strength to reach out when you need to.