So today is July 5th and everyone takes another day off. Somehow our forefathers put their necks on the line with King George, so that we could have a day off. But a day off from what? Kids are already off from school, so are teachers. It's wasted on them. If I were them, I'd petition for a day off in September sometime, maybe the day after Labor day.
[whoops, went off on a tangent there. let me bring it back]
So the Gospel this morning tells the story of Jesus interacting with two people: The synagogue official and the woman with the hemorrhage. Two great moments:
- The synagogue official was not just an official, but the man in charge of the day to day running of the Temple. Chosen by the elders, he would have been a man of undoubted faith and an unquestionable reputation among his people. What a moment it must have been when this highly esteemed man who represented the Temple itself came and knelt before Christ. How many gasps there must've been in the crowd at this sign of submission. But he also would have been a guy who loathed Jesus, and the way He was luring people away from Judaism (eg - work on the sabbath). If this guy is coming to Jesus on behalf of his daughter, he's doing so because he has tried everything else to heal her. His belief in Jesus' power is somewhat limited, but normal, since he believed Jesus could only heal her if He touched her.
- The woman with the hemorrhage is suffering daily. Blood loss would have made her perpetually weak. Society would have stayed away from her, since Jewish law said a woman was unclean during her menstrual cycle (her condition made her perpetually unclean in their eyes). She, too, probably tried every cure and remedy people recommended, all to no avail. Finally, she goes to Jesus. She has such a faith in His power that she feels even touching his clothing (touching something that is touching Him) will heal her.
The danger is that she was looking to touch Jesus' tallit just for the healing power, like some sort of vending machine. We still have that crowd around us: How many of our Catholic brothers and sisters come out for ashes or to have their throat blessed, without any desire or intention to go to Mass or Confession? It leans towards idolatry, just a hop, skip, and jump from those who think rock crystals have special powers. Even Jesus is afraid the crowd (and the woman) will feel His healing power comes from his garments, so He makes sure to tell the woman her faith healed her.
Finally, I also love that line at MT 9:24, when Jesus says the girl is "not dead, but sleeping". Sometimes as parish Priests, we can throw our arms up in the air in disgust and surrender when we see people continually arrive late for Mass, get up in the middle of the consecration to go to the bathroom, or leave right after receiving the Eucharist. I love that Gospel passage because it gives me hope. Their faith is not dead, just dormant and needs to be woken up.
Now, what can I do to "wake" it? Oh, lots of things (he says with an evil grin).