Even trivial experiences of exclusion can shatter our sense of self. So imagine what effects full-blown ostracism might have on the individual who is systematically isolated from her community, cut off from love and human affection.
In the Gospel this week, Jesus heals a woman who has bled for twelve years. In the minds of her community, her condition has left her unclean, and she has therefore been shunned, excluded from full participation in that community. Likewise, Jairus’ daughter, whom Jesus raises from the dead, would have been ritually impure, but that does not stop Jesus from taking the child by the hand and raising her to life. In both cases, Jesus restores the afflicted to relationship, thereby calling all those around him to be generous in their love and inclusive in their embrace of Other. All creatures of the world are wholesome, the Book of Wisdom tells us. Jesus’ interventions in the lives of the woman with a hemorrhage and Jairus’ daughter teach us to value the human contact that is central to our humanity, and to reach out to others with a strong sense of justice, working for that which is life-giving, supplying the needs of all, inclusive of the poor, the wounded, the rejected, for they, too, are the image of God’s nature, and reflect God’s love for the world.
This reflection is based on notes from Fr. Pat's Thursday night Scripture class.