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. (Matthew 9:18-26)
What a beautiful Gospel filled with a profound message of faith.
In the first part, we learn of the official whose daughter has died yet he approached Jesus and says “lay your hand on her, and she will live.” Remarkably this man’s faith moves Our Lord to action. When problems surround our world we must not expect God to solve them without no effort from us. Sometimes He doesn’t act until He sees an act of faith on our part. Is our faith strong enough to ask Him for something extraordinary?
Then there is the woman suffering hemorrhages who had great faith in Jesus, too. She expressed her faith not in words, but in a deed—quietly touching Jesus’ cloak. What we learn here is that actions or deeds should join our words. We need to leave our comfort zone or our little corner and approach Jesus. Prayer plus action gives God more ground or space to work with. He wants to see us add actions to our prayers. Actions can be simple things like joining your Altar Society and sweeping the floors. Or maybe tidying up your church after Mass – I’m always amazed at the paper leave behind. Or perhaps you can approach your pastor and ask if he has a project waiting for a pair of hands.
Today, this message of faith has touched my heart. Lately, I have been lamenting and fretting over our national elections. For weeks I have told myself, “I can’t vote for X, not in alignment with my Catholic faith. I can’t vote for Y, doesn’t show Christian virtues of Charity and Love of Neighbor.” But, now I know what Jesus wants me to do. I will approach Him in prayer and entrust our country and her destiny to Him. I will also look for a project to help my fellow citizens that I can offer to God for His glory.
Lord, the official and the suffering woman show an admirable faith. We want to have the same kind of faith. Sometimes we feel paralyzed by problems and situations, so much so that we find it hard to approach You confidently. Increase our faith and sense of hope. Let us not forget that You rule the world. Bless our beloved country. Protect her and guide her today and forever. Amen.
Image: Paolo Veronese. Christ Healing a Woman with an Issue of Blood. c.1548. Oil on canvas. The National Gallery, London, UK.