Touching Christ

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Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 9:18-26

While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward, knelt down before him, and said, “My daughter has just died. But come, lay your hands on her, and she will live.” Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples. A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak. She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured. Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” And from that hour the woman was cured. When Jesus arrived at the official’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion, he said, “Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they ridiculed him. When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand, and the little girl arose. And news of this spread throughout all that land.

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, I draw close to you now in this short time of prayer I have with you. Like the woman suffering the hemorrhages, I reach out to touch you in faith. I kneel before you, if not in body then at least in spirit, and beg you for light and grace like the official in this Gospel. Lord Jesus, increase my faith!

Encountering Christ:

  1. Come, Lay Your Hands on Me: This Gospel presents a Jewish official who approaches Jesus with faith so humble and sincere it practically bleeds through the page: He kneels before Jesus, presents the case of his dying daughter, and begs that Jesus come and lay his hands on her, “and she will live.” This man has something of that confident intuition that can come only from faith. He knows Jesus will not deny an honest and humble plea. This humble faith is something we can learn for ourselves from the official. Lord, lay your “hands” on me in the Eucharist and through others.
  2. Let Me Touch You, Lord: At the Encounter Chapel of the Magdala Center in Israel, there is a beautiful painting of the woman with hemorrhages from this very Gospel. All we are given to see are a crowd of feet, and a hand reaching out to touch the frayed tassels of a white-and-blue cloak, where a point of light emanates. In St. Luke’s Gospel, this is the moment where power goes out of Jesus to heal her of her illness. From this humble woman we can learn how to reach out in faith to Our Lord, knowing that contact with him, in whatever form, will lead to our good.
  3. The Girl Is Not Dead, but Sleeping: Jesus arrives at the house to find a crowd “making a commotion,” not truly mourning the loss of the girl, but moaning as part of their custom. He already knows that these people are lacking in faith, so he sends them away. They ridicule Jesus but he moves forward undeterred, and brings the little girl back from the dead. Jesus moves and works in this world regardless of how people receive his action, but for those who have faith, his works always bless us, as they blessed this girl and her father in the Gospel.

Conversing with Christ: Lord, once again I ask you to increase my faith. Help me to approach you humbly, to let you work in my life. Grant me the grace to see you in faith, and trust in how you want to work in my life. 

Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will spend ten minutes at the end of the day reflecting on how I handled moments of adversity: Did I ask for grace, or did I try to handle them on my own?

For Further Reflection: The “Encounter” in the Magdala Center painting mentioned today is worth reflecting on in quiet.

Written by Br. Brian Flanagan, LC.

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