Listen to or read a Reflection for Monday 6 July 2020 on Matthew 9:18-26.
While Jesus was speaking, suddenly a leader of the synagogue came in and knelt before him, saying, ‘My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.’ And Jesus got up and followed him, with his disciples.
Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, ‘If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.’ Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, ‘Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.’ And instantly the woman was made well.
When Jesus came to the leader’s house and saw the flute-players and the crowd making a commotion, he said, ‘Go away; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl got up. And the report of this spread throughout that district.Matthew 9:18-26
No one needs to be reminded that we are living through extraordinary times, but how many, I wonder, realize how directly today’s reading is speaking to us as we journey through these complicated days?
In our sophisticated world we take health care for granted – so much so that we have even had to be regularly reminded how to wash our hands.
In earlier times, before the wonders of modern medicine, it was essential that people followed strict codes of hygiene, and of who could and could not be touched.
The adherence to such codes could be a matter of life and death.
Does that sound familiar?
Today we encounter Jesus breaching those rules in spectacular style: he is touched by a woman who had been suffering from uncontrolled haemorrhages for many years, and then he touches a dead body.
Jesus’ largely Jewish audience would not have missed the point – he was touched by and touching the ritually unclean thus, according to Jewish law, making himself unclean.
In these actions Jesus is not saying: Ignore the guidelines and the regulations that are put in place to protect us.
Rather, Jesus is urging us to live with hope in our hearts.
Jesus is showing that God’s love and God’s power to heal are all around us.
Of course, we have to play our part.
We cannot trick God or demote him into some sort of cheap conjuror by ignoring our role in keeping well.
We have to live as responsible members of society, we have to hold firm in our faith, we have to live as the leader of the synagogue and the woman suffering from haemorrhages lived – in the certainty that Jesus holds us all in his loving embrace, no matter what trials we are called to face and endure.
Let us pray for that strength of faith as we live through whatever lies before us.
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