Ps 91:1-4, 14-15ab
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward,
knelt down before him, and said,
“My daughter has just died.
But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.”
Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples.
A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him
and touched the tassel on his cloak.
She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.”
Jesus turned around and saw her, and said,
“Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.”
And from that hour the woman was cured.
When Jesus arrived at the official’s house
and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion,
he said, “Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping.”
And they ridiculed him.
When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand,
and the little girl arose.
And news of this spread throughout all that land.
Good News Reflection:
In the two incidents that occur in our Gospel reading today, what was the greatest gift that Jesus provided: healing or resurrection?
Neither. It was love.
Duh! But that was a trick question, right? This scripture doesn’t mention love. Okay, but why did he heal people? Because he loved them! Not because they asked, not because they asked in the “right” way, not because they asked long enough and hard enough to convince him to give in to their supplications. Nor did they beg his mother to make him change his mind.
Jesus gives us miracles, too. He is very good to us! Remember what you prayed about last year? He’s still actively involved in that, even if you haven’t thought about it for awhile.
Do we pay attention to the love that comes from Jesus during our prayer requests? His love is obvious when our prayers are answered, but do we pay attention to the love that comes with unanswered prayer?
Imagine seeing Jesus through the eyes of the woman who was healed when she touched the tassel on his cloak. Was it his love or his clothing that healed her? How do we know it was love, since he didn’t even realize she was there until after the miracle? Perhaps the woman experienced something like the following:
“When Jesus told me, ‘Your faith has healed you,’ my heart leapt for joy. But something even more wonderful happened. Jesus gave me his personal attention! He stopped what he was doing to find me in the crowd and talk to me! Then he listened to me — he wanted to know what in me was being healed. He was concerned about me!”
No matter what we pray for, the greatest healing is to know — beyond all doubt — that Jesus is concerned about us. And he really is concerned about each of us, even when he doesn’t give us what we ask for, the way we want it, as quickly as we’d like it.
Miracles do happen: Jesus shocked my daughter’s pediatrician when she was six months old, answering our prayers with an instant cure that prevented the need for surgery to correct a stomach defect. But 16 years later he did not heal her from a twisting spine that required major surgery. Although we don’t understand why she had to endure so much pain, we do understand that Jesus cares.
To feel the embrace of his love, we have to work our way to the hem of his cloak: We have to make it past what we want, past the crowd of doubts in our head, past our low self-esteem that says we’re not worthy of his attention. We have to ignore the advice of people who tell us that our faith is stupid or too weak for miracles. We have to persist despite everything that gets in our way, not because it makes a difference to God but because of the difference it makes in us.
When we keep pushing toward Jesus, we overcome obstacles that hinder our faith. Then he says to us, “My beloved, your faith has saved you.”
Thank you Jesus, because You walk among us, eager to work miracles and to show us Your great love. I praise and bless You for this love. Make my faith in You grow, even when situations seem lost or perhaps too late. May I accompany You in the marvelous misision of showing the world that You are alive and present in our lives. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica