One of the most awaited season for me, in our Catholic celebrations is the Holy Week. And I love everything in it – the rites and celebrations in the church, the pageantry in the processions and ‘kubols’ and many more.
Upon reading the Gospel for today, I remembered the Holy Week because of the story about the ‘woman who was afflicted with hemorrhages.’ The woman was cured after touching the hem of Jesus’ clothes. I connected her to the Holy Week because there was this story that I had heard that by tradition, it was believed that the woman who was cured of hemorrhages is the same woman we know in the Holy Week processions carrying a veil marked with Jesus’ face – Veronica. Well it was just a tradition but what I cannot fail to see in the story is the gesture of Jesus to the woman. And Sta. Veronica is a favorite procession-character of mine.
In the story, the woman who suffered with affliction for twelve years, resigning herself that she could not talk to Jesus and ask for the cure of her affliction because of the large crowd that follow Him, she had just hoped to touch His clothes to be cured. She was not disappointed for it was said that upon touching Jesus’ clothes ‘the flow of blood immediately dried up and she felt cured in her body.’ But our Lord was so moving with His gestures when He did not just let pass of the situation but stopped and asked who had touched Him. And we know that the woman, fearful and abashed, approached Him and owned up the action. And Jesus was so tender and loving to actually talk to her and assured her. It must have been a truly life-changing experience for the woman. She surely was touched by whom she touched. She was not just cured but had this rare chance of encounter and dialogue with our Lord.
I realized that God is still the same today. Whenever we seek Him, He still goes out of His way just to encounter us. And He encounters us in the simplicity and ordinariness of our lives. The challenge that the Gospel tells me is that I should be always ready and attentive for even the most unexpected encounters with Jesus in my daily affairs.
By Sem. Tristan Pacheco
THE GOSPEL TODAY
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat
to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
“My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live.”
He went off with him
and a large crowd followed him.
There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors
and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak.
She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”
Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,
turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?”
But his disciples said to him,
“You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,
and yet you ask, Who touched me?”
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her,
approached in fear and trembling.
She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”
While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said,
“Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
“Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep.”
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child’s father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,”
which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.