We read in this Sunday’s Gospel: ‘She had heard about Jesus, and she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his cloak. “If I can touch even his clothes,” she had told herself “I shall be well again.”’ This event is part of a sandwich of stories, for her desire and her cure are the filling of a sandwich of which the slices of bread are about Jairus’ daughter. It is to me as if St Mark just can’t wait to tell us and so he squeezes it in in the middle of another of Jesus’ miracle – a dramatic raising from the dead. And yet it is as if St Mark is saying we don’t have to wait for the great dramatic miracles for there are also other, secret ones, which involve a desperation just as deep as that of being faced by death.
When we reflect on the story about the woman that St Mark tells us we are not at all surprised that Jesus heals her, it is what we have come to expect: the Lord knows our deepest needs and will always respond to them if we but ask. What takes us aback is her faith: ‘If I can touch even his clothes…’ Such humility, such timidness, such courage… She knows He has what she needs, having tried expensive doctors and worldly remedies, and now she has ‘heard about him’ and it has rung true in her heart. It is the hearing that has given her hope, as today it does us. Her courage is that she goes to Him, even though she does it in such a timid way. And having healed her Jesus calls on her to come out into the open, so frightening one would have thought for her, and yet He gives her a new courage as He says to her: ‘My daughter your faith has restored you to health; go in peace and be freed from your complaint.’
And that is just what He says to us, every day, as we come timidly before Him, come because we have heard of Him and we have spent all that we have in trying to be ourselves and yet not managing to find a way without Him.