A 12-Year Odyssey of Faith with a Religious & Social Outcast

Reflection: Matthew 9:18-22; Mark 5:21-34; Luke 8:40-56

In the preceding weeks, Jesus had been on a teaching tour and had also accomplished several miraculous exploits in villages around the Sea of Galilee. Staggering news of the raising of a widow’s son, the healing of a crippled woman bound for 18 years, and the deliverance of a demonized Gerasene man were spreading like wild fire around the Galilean plains.

He is here again! Are these extraordinary stories true? They say he is not medically trained, but a prophet. Nonetheless I have exhausted all my savings on doctors and I am still damned after 12 wasted years! I can only dream of Temple worship. Who can I turn to for advise? Nobody would come near me. What shall I do?

This woman who had a seemingly incurable condition was at her wit’s end, having sunk below the Galilean poverty line. Whenever she ventured out begging or scavenging for food, her community would make a beeline away from her, as she was ritually unclean. Any bodily or apparel contact with her would result in a similar banishment. She was a familiar social outcast who probably lived alone at the edge of her village.

They say a woman crippled for 18 years was healed immediately when he touched her. Unbelievable! How can I get him to touch me? No, what if people recognized me before I reach him, surely they would drive me away. I may never get another chance after that. Or should I touch him as he walks past? If I touched him, I would contaminate him, and if I were discovered, the crowd would be angry and may even stone me! What if I am not healed? O God, You know that I have tried everything and everyone, from doctors to priests, is there no hope for me? What shall I do? …… But they say he is a healer. Should I…..? No, I must attempt to touch him! I have lost everything, there is nothing else to loose. I have to take the risk.

I covered myself up and kept my head down, so no one could see my face. I walked and weaved my way into the crowd till I got near him. Then when he slowed down, I crept up behind him, my heart was pounding, and I touched the edge of his garment, and quickly slipped back. It’s done! I felt a strange sensation through my body.

“Who touched Me?” He swung around, and for a second, our eyes met. His, radiated with compassion. I was stunned that He was able to catch me red-handed with everyone jostling around Him. I am the one, Sir. Please do not be angry, as I was desperate and …… He smiled, “Have courage my daughter, your faith has healed you, go in peace.” I gasped. A daughter! He esteemed me! He accepted me! Suddenly the weight of years of ostracism and condemnation by family, friends, and my village lifted. Tears flowed uninterrupted and I crumbled to the ground. Time drifted by. I cannot remember how long I was alone on that street, weeping, till my tears turned to joy. I AM HEALED! I AM CLEAN! Blessed be the God of my fathers.

Where did He go? I must find Him again.