We read in today’s gospel passage about two very different people who approached Jesus Christ in different ways.
The first is Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, who was a man of high esteem in the Jewish community.
The second person is a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years, and had spent all her money on treatments that did not work. Not only was she now poor, she was also considered unclean in Jewish law because of the flow of blood and would have lived in isolation - anyone who had physical contact with her would also become unclean.
Jairus, an official of the synagogue, approached the Lord in great distress. His only daughter, a young twelve year old, was dying. He fell to his knees before Jesus begging him to come save her. Jesus, the All-Compassionate One, responds immediately and begins to follow Jairus to his home. Luke comments that the crowd was so large it nearly crushed him.
As this is happening, the woman who had suffered from the twelve year hemorrhage squeezed her way through the crowd and managed to touch the hem of the Lord's garment and was healed.
This woman, unclean by the standards of the Mosaic law and liable for stoning should she be discovered, reaches out in all-consuming faith. Then, Jesus comes to a halt and exclaims, "Who touched me?" Peter, confused, says, "What do mean, 'Who touched me', the crowds are pressing all around you. Many people are touching you!"
"No, Jesus, replied, "someone has touched me; for I know that power has gone out from me."
There was something different about this woman's touch. There was intent behind it that made it differ from the many people pushing and shoving against Jesus. Why is that?
Firstly, the woman was completely focused on her goal. She was undeterred by the crowd, by the fear of being discovered or even her own suffering. She had the simple objective of reaching out to Christ and she met it.
Secondly, her faith was incredible. Jesus tells us that her faith was what made her whole. She believed even after twelve years of spiritual, emotional and physical suffering that the Lord would heal her.
Thirdly, she was uniquely prepared for the encounter because her long suffering had prepared her to meet the Incarnate God. She literally had nothing to lose. Her suffering has eroded away feelings of shame and fear, and it had left her with a strength and humility that made her pursue Christ's healing.
What this shows us is that we won’t make Christ unclean; instead, He will make us His beloved sons and daughters, healed and whole.
On the other hand, Jairus approached Jesus Christ differently, openly asking Him to heal his dying daughter. But his faith is then put to a very hard test. For the girl dies, but the Lord says that she is only sleeping. Everyone mocks Christ for this but Jairus chose to believe the astonishing word of the Lord: “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.”
Here, Christ had put their faith to the test, but they did believe. While others were preparing for the girl's funeral, Jairus trusted that Christ would raise her from the dead.
People are different, and we encounter Christ in different ways. Our faith is tested in different ways. Our healing comes in different ways. No two people have exactly the same journey to the Kingdom. No two people pray, fast, give alms, forgive, and serve in precisely the same way.
Jairus and the woman with the flow of blood were very different people who approached Christ differently. What remains constant is the mercy of our Lord, which extends to all who call upon Him from their hearts with humble trust.