By Father Jacob Dankasa
Special to The Texas Catholic
In my August column I reflected on the patient faith of Jairus, whose daughter Jesus raised from the dead despite the interruption caused by the woman with the flow of blood who touched Jesus’ cloak. Jairus had the patience to wait for Jesus, even when he was told that his daughter was dead (See Mark 5:21-43). In this article I want to turn my attention to the other figure in the story — the woman who touched Jesus and was cured of the hemorrhages that had afflicted her for 12 years. This woman gives us an example of another kind of faith. Just as Jairus shows us an example of a patient faith, this woman gives us an example of a quality faith.
The gospel tells us that there was a large crowd around Jesus, and everyone was pressing on him and touching him. But Jesus recognized a different kind of touch, one that was unique — a quality touch. This woman came to Jesus with a faith that totally believed and trusted in his healing power. Her faith had no doubt. It was a quality faith, a faith quite different from those of others in the crowd who were also touching Jesus. This woman was healed because of the quality — the totality — of her faith. We need such quality faith in our Christian journey, a complete trust that allows us to believe without doubt that God will provide what we need. In a world looking for miracles, a world where everyone has a “need” and wants all their desires met, we need such a total faith in God, a quality faith that rests our desires in the will of God as the preferred outcome. Miracles happen every day of our lives, in the little things of life as well as the larger events. But we need a quality faith to be able to see and acknowledge them. Otherwise, we will live perpetually with the feeling that God is not present in our lives. When we pray and seek miracles and yet nothing seems to happen, we should probably examine the quality of our faith and see how trusting and believing we are, whether miracles are actually happening and we are failing to see them.
In the miracles of the healing of the woman with hemorrhages and the raising of Jairus’ daughter from death we see one significant connection. We see in both events that Jesus didn’t merely want to heal them, but he also wanted to have a relationship with them. When the woman touched Jesus, he looked around to find her. Remember that everyone was pressing on him, but he was looking intently for this one woman. “Who has touched my clothes?” Jesus demanded. Why was Jesus looking for her? She had already received what she wanted. Why not let her go, and then hurry to Jairus’ house to heal his daughter? No! Jesus wanted to meet her. It was only when she showed herself and he met her that she received total healing — not just physical, but spiritual healing. “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” By the same token, Jesus could have stayed where he was and healed Jairus’ daughter simply by saying the words.
But he decided to follow Jairus to his house.
In both cases Jesus wanted to meet those who benefited from his healing power — he wanted to have a relationship with them. He wanted to know this woman and have this woman know him. He wanted to know Jairus, his household, and his daughter, and he wanted them to know him. If the woman who was cured of her hemorrhages had not responded when Jesus was looking for her, she probably would have missed the spiritual healing Jesus offered. She might have been physically cured, but her spiritual life might still have needed healing. If Jairus had given up when he was told that his daughter was dead, if he had not had the patience to wait for Jesus to follow him to his home, he would have missed the miracle of the raising of his daughter.
When we come to Jesus with our needs, he doesn’t want to simply solve our problems and let us go. He wants to have a relationship with us. Jesus is not a mere dispenser of miracles; he wants to live in our lives and have us live in his; he wants to maintain a relationship with us. Jesus doesn’t just want to meet us or hear us; he wants to relate to us. He is not some medication that we can take “as needed.” He is not one that we go to only when we are in need, and then when our problems are solved we disappear, only to show up again when another need arises. Jesus wants us always, he wants to be with us, to know us and to have a relationship with us.
As we seek the hand of God in our lives, in our needs and in our desires, let us always remember that God wants us to have a quality faith, a faith that is total and trusting; he wants us to have a patient faith, a faith that waits upon him; and finally, he wants us to have a relationship with him, one where we stay with him every day of our lives, not just “as needed.”
Father Jacob Dankasa is pastoral administrator of Holy Family of Nazareth Catholic Church in Irving and a regular contributor to The Texas Catholic.