by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
June 27, 2012
The scene is surprising. The gospel writer Mark presents an unknown woman as a model of faith for the Christian communities. From her, they will be able to learn how to seek Jesus with faith, how to get to a healing contact with Him and how to find in Him the strength to start a new life, full of peace and health.
Unlike Jairus, who is identified as a "head of the synagogue" and an important man in Capharnaum, this woman is a nobody. We only know that she has a secret illness, a typically female one, that keeps her from living her life in a healthy way as a woman, wife, and mother.
She is suffering a lot, physically and morally. She has gone into ruin seeking the help of doctors, but no one has been able to cure her. Nonetheless, she refuses to live as a sick woman forever. She is alone. Nobody helps her get near to Jesus but she knows how to meet Him.
She doesn't wait passively for Jesus to approach and lay His hands on her. She herself seeks Him out. She overcomes all the obstacles. She does everything she knows and can do. Jesus will understand her wish for a healthier life. She fully trusts His healing power.
The woman isn't satisfied to just see Jesus from afar. She looks for more direct and personal contact. She acts with determination, but not recklessly. She doesn't want to disturb anyone. She approaches from behind, in the crowd, and touches his cloak. Her complete confidence in Jesus is expressed and fulfilled in this delicate gesture.
Everything has happened secretly, but Jesus wants everyone to know that woman's great faith. When she confesses what she has done, fearful and trembling, Jesus says to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and health." That woman, with her ability to seek and receive the salvation offered to us in Jesus, is a model of faith for all of us.
Who is helping the women of our time encounter Jesus? Who is trying to understand the obstacles they find in the current Church to living their faith in Christ "in peace and health"? Who values the faith and efforts of the women theologians who, with hardly any support and overcoming all sorts of resistance and rejection, are working tirelessly to make a way for women to live with more dignity in the Church of Jesus?
Women don't find among us the welcome, appreciation, and understanding that they found in Jesus. We don't know how to look at them as He looked at them. However, today too, they are often the ones who sustain the life of our Christian communities with their faith in Jesus and evangelical spirit.