In the midst of Jesus’ urgent trip to heal a girl at the point of death, another supplicant also reaches out to him, literally, for healing. She thinks, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well,” and, indeed, her faith is rewarded. Jesus says to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
In this scene, the crowds are pressing in on Jesus and his followers from all sides. Are we as eager to encounter Jesus today? If we really believed that Jesus could make us well and whole, wouldn’t we be clamoring like the crowds of so long ago? In the absence of a miracle worker walking among us, it is easy to lose our desire to be close to Jesus. But Jesus’ own words in today’s gospel show us that we don’t need him to walk down the street in our hometown to encounter his healing power; it is our faith that will make us well. And yet we do have the opportunity to be in the presence of Christ still today, through the Church and its sacraments.
This reading invites us to consider what aspects of our lives we can bring to Jesus for healing. Even beyond our physical ailments, Jesus has the power to make us whole. I must simply ask myself, do I have the spiritual desire to reach out with my heart and touch the hem of his garment with my prayer? And if I do that, do I have the faith to believe that he can heal me? Prayer can be challenging because God’s answers to our prayers don’t always come in the way that we hope for or expect, so let us always hold in our hearts Jesus’ words today: “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”