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Use your hands as instruments of Jesus’ love

Based on Gospel of Mark 5:21-43
The touch of his hands. The need for faith and trust. Throughout the Gospels, notice how often Jesus used his hands to heal the sick. Definitely a “hands on” approach. Some examples are Jesus curing the leper (Mt 8:3); Jesus curing the two blind men (Mt 9:29); and Jesus curing the blind man at Bethsaida (Mk 8:23).

In this Sunday’s Gospel from Mark, two beautiful stories are told. A synagogue official named Jairus is overcome with sorrow and concern for his 12-year-old daughter who is dying. He approaches Jesus, falls at his feet, and says, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come and lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.”

On the way a large crowd follows and presses closely against Jesus. An unnamed woman who has suffered with hemorrhages for 12 years sneaks up behind Jesus and puts her hand on his cloak. She had tried many doctors for help and used up all of her savings in the process. Thinking to herself, “If I but touch his clothes I shall be cured.” She was. Jesus stops and asks, “Who has touched my clothes?”

Why did he ask this question? Jesus wanted people to understand that it was the woman’s faith that brought about her cure, not a “magic” touch of his clothes.

Full of fear and trembling, the woman kneels before Jesus and tells him the truth.

Jesus smiles at her and says loud enough for all to hear, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

A short time later Jesus arrives at Jairus’ house. Jairus is told his daughter has died. Jesus tells Jairus, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”

Jesus takes the girl’s hand and says to her, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, I say to you arise!” The girl rises immediately and walks around. Jesus tells the happy parents, “Give her something to eat.”

Some people might ask why didn’t Jesus cure the woman without her having to touch him, or why did Jesus go all the way to Jairus’ house instead of bringing the girl back to life from a distance? It’s because Jesus longs for a close relationship with us.

As human beings we need both spiritual and physical contact. Thus, we encounter Jesus through the sacraments, the church, the liturgy and so on. Jesus is always at our side.

We fold our hands in prayer, imploring Jesus’ help for others and ourselves.

From the hands of the priest we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus in holy Communion that increases Christ’s life of grace in us. In turn, we are to use our hands as Jesus’ instruments to share his love and mercy with others in need.