News from St Mary the Virgin, Kenton on Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th June 2021: The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Good News from Mark's Gospel on Sunday appears to recount two separate events in the early Ministry of Jesus. We hear a plea to Jesus from Jairus about his daughter, to “come and lay hands on her to make her better and save her life” and at the same time, a woman who had been suffering from long-term haemorrhaging touches Jesus' cloak and is cured. “The Power of Touch” is discussed in some depth in this week's “Sunday Message”; but we know from the Covid lockdown, how much the absence of physical contact has left many people feeling isolated. Even in extended families, where it would be 'normal' to shake hands, to hug or even to kiss one another, the recommendations at the height of the pandemic were to maintain a physical distance. Only in the last few weeks have we been told that it is 'permitted to hug' – but this is to be done cautiously, as some people are still vulnerable and even those who have had two Covid vaccinations may still run the risk of infection.
Of course, 'touch' is not just a physical action. We can also describe being 'touched' by someone's kindness or generosity. But there is something special about that physical contact. Jesus experiences that when the woman touches his cloak. He turns around in the crowd and asks: “Who touched my clothes?” When the woman eventually comes forward, Jesus tells her “Your faith has restored you to health; go in peace and be free from your complaint.” As a society, “the British” tend to be very reserved when it comes to touching, as opposed to some countries where an embrace is the customary form of greeting. When Jesus reaches the home of Jairus, people are weeping and wailing because they believe the child is dead. But Jesus takes the child by the hand and she gets up and starts to walk around.
We do not posess the healing powers that Our Lord demonstrated during his Ministry on Earth, and which he continues to deliver in response to those who have Faith. But we do have the power to 'touch' people by our actions. Healing is not just a physical response, but a psychological and spiritual experience as well. As Christians, the modern day disciples, we are commissioned to exercise our healing ministry in Jesus' name. Pray for those who need his help and be open to the Holy Spirit and his gifts.
Lord, You invite all who are burdened to come to you. Allow Your healing Hand to heal me. Touch my soul with Your compassion for others; touch my heart with Your courage and infinite Love for all; touch my mind with Your Wisdom, and may my mouth always proclaim Your praise. Teach me to reach out to You in all my needs, and help me to lead others to You by my example.
Most loving Heart of Jesus, bring me health in body and spirit that I may serve You with all my strength. Touch gently this life which you have created, now and forever.