13th Sunday in Ordinary Time


By Leanna Cappiello

You may have noticed that there is a “short version” and an “extended version” of today’s Gospel. Whether or not you hear this extended version at Mass today, take a quick look at Mark 5:21-43.

The shortened gospel excludes the story of the hemorrhaging woman. But to me, brings an interesting insight into Jesus character, and also says a great deal about what the role of faith looks like for us.

“Who touched my clothes?” In Luke’s account of the same story, Jesus actually says, “Who touched me?” I can only picture a slightly confused, perhaps slightly amused, Jesus. The whole anecdote is miraculous: on his way to heal a 12-year-old girl, Jesus is followed and “pressed in on” by a crowd. During his commute, a woman who has been suffering from excessive bleeding for years (… years!) merely brushes his cloak and is instantly made free of this ailment by her faith. “Your faith has set you free, go in peace.”

The humour in all of this is that he was just walking the streets, and this woman -probably crawling to avoid being seen – barely brushes the hem of his cloak and is healed from a serious 12-year chronic health issue. It seems that Jesus didn’t even see her, let alone intend to heal her directly. And yet, it happens because of her belief and desire to be healed.

The disciples actually comment on how the crowd was pressing in on Jesus from all sides, how can he suddenly realize that someone has touched him? But only one person touched him with the intention of receiving grace. This woman wanted to be healed, and believed she would be. She said, “yes please” and accepted the grace that was so readily available from Jesus. We should remember this story as we approach Jesus ourselves: with the same confidence in his healing power.