..so often, as if by divine intervention, a scripture reading & a life event meet, not head on, but heart to heart..the divine heartbeat in ordinary everyday life.. listen to St Paul talking to the Corinthians then, & now to us, & think of our stockpile of covid vaccine.. “it is a question of balancing what happens to your surplus now, against their present need..& one day, they may have something to spare that will supply your own need..” ..vaccine charity from our plenty..
“..this does not mean that to give relief to others, you ought to make things difficult for yourselves..” ; Lord have mercy “..this is how we strike a balance” [a Benedictine balance] balance ; Christ have mercy “..the man who gathered much had none too much; the man who gathered little did not go short..” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..a Jesus at his very best, out on margins among the marginalised, miles away from the prescription, the incense & liturgy of the Temple, & its prim & proper observant insiders ..this gospel is cutting edge spirituality on the front line among the faithful, be they outsiders like Jairus, or the rejected like woman with haemorrhage..for a synagogue official to approach Jesus & his radical difference, & compromising his own faith with this outsider dealing would cost him his job; instant dismissal & social/religious isolation for him & his family..what faith to risk everything, all of it worth it if he could persuade Jesus to help; wonderful imagery “fell at his feet, pleaded with him earnestly..my little daughter is desperately sick” when was last time you were that desperate? every time in a crisis we plead, he hears & he comes with us..& then the distraction/obstruction..in midst of crowd carrying Jesus along towards Jairus’ house is a woman; 12yrs of social distancing in relational & spiritual lockdown..locked out, impure almost as if she had the coronavirus..the rule book for insider innkeepers & lawkeepers is book of Leviticus..Ch 15 v25-27.. “if she has a discharge beyond the time of her impurity, she shall continue in uncleanness; every bed on which she lies shall be treated as the bed of her impurity; & everything on which she sits shall be unclean..whoever touches these things shall be unclean.” all too close to home here & now is it not?.. she was once a woman of some status & some means..all her wealth had gone on private healthcare; she was no better & now destitute, & whereas Jairus would approach Jesus in the open, she, so ritually unclean, had to go in among a crowd, like an undercover covid victim in KX station or on underground..”if I can touch even his clothes, I shall be well again” what faith & self-belief..& she did & she was immediately cured..brilliant!.. & then it gets even better “who touched my clothes?” Jesus aware some of his grace, his divine energy, had suddenly gone, not lost but taken/stolen by someone in crowd..his fickle followers laughed at his enquiry in midst of such a crowd..it could be anyone, like a pick-pocket, he/she’d be long gone; however, wonderfully Jesus wouldn’t give up, he kept looking anxiously, expectantly, looking in all directions in hope of finding not a culprit but a recipient of the gift of all gifts,
now & then..& bless her she self-refers..”the woman came forward frightened & trembling..she fell at his feet & told the whole truth” poor lass probably expected judgement/condemnation from a crowd horrified to find she had been in among them carrying the virus..afraid of Jesus in her confessional moment.. & instead some of the most beautiful words in scripture which should for me be an essential ingredient at closure of Sacrament of Reconciliation “ my daughter, your faith has restored you to health; go in peace & be free from your complaint” the touch cured her physically, a life-long cure..however, & far more importantly, her faith cured her spiritually, an eternal life-long cure... ..& back to main event, now almost an anti-climax..insiders arrive from Jairus’ home to bring him news of his daughter’s death with wonderful deference towards Jesus “why put the Master to any further trouble?” however Jesus aware of the deeper agenda “do not be afraid; only have faith” in house he finds opposite “people weeping unrestrainedly & at his call to them too to keep faith “the child is not dead but asleep” they “laughed at him” incredulous, as world’s top medical experts told us just few months ago it would take at least 5yrs to discover a covid vaccine..& then came their expertise & our faith & prayer.. & four vaccines so far, tried tested & proven, with many of scoffers, still faithless maybe a little muted, but now double dosed & 95% immune & food for their thought & even their prayer..a gospel of untouchables is it not?..Jairus had as last resort to step out of his Judaism, the woman was excluded from her faith community, the fence sitters not sure what to believe, the scoffers dismissive..& you & I up to our necks in it all as we see ourselves all too clearly in one character or another..there are still insiders & outsiders but the definition of what is holy clean & pure has changed; it is no longer rigid adherence to letter of the law which opens us to healing, it is faith; two women belonging now to a new community based on faith, a new inclusive community inaugurated by ministry of a radical controversial outsider..the inbreaking of the reign of God into Valley View, West End, even Gilling & Helmsley..blowing convention out of water..up to now every man Jew loved to be known & be called “a Son of Abraham” a religious accolade, where only men counted..remember miraculous feeding..”5000 men” gospel tells us” to say nothing of women & children” say nothing of them..here for first time, Jesus calls a woman, thus far excluded unclean impure victim, & now “daughter” imagine how she, & every other woman of faith has felt since then, acknowledged for who she is in her own right..valued healed redeemed..Jesus then & now speaks heals & touches, calls into & praises raw faith beyond conventional boundaries & gender..these two women prefigured Our Lords own journey through rejection isolation derision condemnation death towards resurrection.. “little girl, I tell you to get up..my daughter your faith has restored you to faith” the closer we get to these exceptional disciples, allowing ourselves to risk courageously being touched by them, the closer we get to our own redemption..”go in peace & be free from your complaint”..if only you had the faith in me to be touched both by the story & the invitation “if I can touch I shall be well again..” the vaccine of all vaccines..faith..