Begging for Jesus’s healing touch

Dearest Brothers and Sisters,  

The healing stories in this week’s Gospel continue with two accounts; that of the Haemorrhaging Woman and the other of the daughter of Jarius, who was a leader of the synagogue. Although it seems that these two accounts have no apparent connections, Saint Luke in his intelligent writing style draws us to recognise the connections, uniqueness and commonalities of each. Both are from the same town and need Jesus. Jarius, a father who desperately wants to save the life of his daughter seeks Jesus as his last resort and gets down on his knees and begs him in public to help him. For a leader of the synagogue to do this would have been very undignified, however a small price to pay if Jesus could heal his daughter who was twelve years old and “coming of age”, a cause for celebration in the Jewish context.  

The woman who had tried everything to stop her haemorrhaging also saw Jesus as her last resort and would have also needed to get down on her knees to beg (reference to the fringe of Jesus’ clothing) for the healing touch of Jesus without him even seeing her or knowing who she was. In contrast to Jarius, she was nobody of  importance, so much so, that Luke does not even give us a name. Further she would have been considered  someone who was impure, a sinner, because of her haemorrhaging. What is interesting though and very crafty on the part of Saint Luke, is that he tells us that she had been haemorrhaging for twelve years, the same age as Jarius’ daughter. She hasn’t stopped bleeding since the day the twelve-year-old girl was born and what is  experienced as a “coming of age” and a cause of celebration for young girls has become, for this woman, a curse.  

There is so much that we can compare in these two stories, however I would like to focus on how in both  accounts we find the person begging for Jesus’ healing touch. Two totally different people in the eyes of society, but their action was the same. In the light of this Gospel, we need to ask ourselves the following questions: Are we too proud to beg? Do we have such an elevated view of ourselves that falling on our knees and begging seems beneath us? Are our issues any less in need of Jesus than that of the woman and Jarius? What would you not do to place yourself before the Lord and his grace? This woman would not let anything separate her from  Jesus' power to heal her and Jarius let go of his social standing. Both were willing to beg! Amazingly, we don't have to ... even though we often need to! As we continue our Lenten journey, let us not be afraid to get down on our knees and beg for Jesus’ healing touch.  

Speaking about woman of great faith, this week a very special woman from our parish received Bishop  Antoine-Charbel Tarabay’s Maronite Woman of the Year Award on the International Day for Women, Wednesday 8 March, Eva Charbel. This award has been established in 2017 to recognise and showcase the dedication and achievement of Maronite women in their outstanding contribution to the Maronite Church in Australia and to the Australian society in general. These women inspire us through their achievements and challenge us to make our own contribution to the Body of Christ and Eva is certainly a wonderful example of this achievement. We are very proud of this achievement and congratulate Eva and her family for receiving this award.

Fr Tony Sarkis

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