sexta-feira, 24 de fevereiro de 2017


“Who touched my clothes?”
Mark 5:30 (read 5:21-43) - NIV

Jesus is the central character of the Gospels. If we turn away our attention to the people who surrounded him we will see only minor truths. It is the person of Jesus who gives meaning to everything that happens. The episode of Jesus and the desperately sick woman reveals important facets of the Master.

There was something in the person of Jesus that drew crowds, but he never was influenced by them. Sometimes his actions disturbed the majority of the large number of people around him. He was popular without being a populist who played to their likes. He never used demagoguery. His point of reference was never the opinion of the majority. His goal was to be love in action. Jesus profoundly understood human nature and understood that the crowd that was squeezing in from all sides was not receiving the message what he wanted to convey. That day only one person in that agglomeration really managed to approach him and touch him.

For Jesus, all people were important. No one is expendable. Jesus was on his way to meet an urgent matter of the life or death of Talitha, daughter of Jairus, one of the synagogue leaders who appealed to him for help. In the crowd that followed and pressed in upon him was a woman, a "Jane Doe" without expression in the social order. She should not have been there, because she was considered to be unclean. She had suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years, and the law forbade her to have contact with other people so as not to "contaminate" them.

In his haste, Jesus could have pressed on without giving her the slightest attention. Dozens of people were bumping into him, but only one really touched his cloak! Upon receiving the hidden touch, Jesus stopped abruptly. "Who touched my clothes?" he asked. The woman trembled with fear, expecting a stern rebuke. To her surprise, her faith was praised and she was declared cured of her sickness.

Jesus was not afraid of being corrupted by the world. His goal was to infect the world with faith. The woman did not defile Jesus. It is significant that Jesus did not say "You are healed because I am powerful." but "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” The woman was strengthened in faith and in health.

It would be convenient to use this passage only to take spiritual comfort and strengthen the feeling that, even being weak and vulnerable, we are targets of divine care. It's easy to forget that Jesus is also a model for the way we are to live. It would be easy for us to receive the manifestations of grace without passing them to other people who also need them. In urban life we cross paths with many people at work and at leisure, without touching them. Do we live in such a way that others see in us a source of support and hope? Are we attentive to the sufferings of the people who surround us daily? Are we so busy and in such a hurry that we ignore those in our path who need a strengthening of faith?

There is great difference between only bumping into and really touching.


When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

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