Saturday, June 30, 2012

Reaching Out to Touch Jesus

Reflections on the Readings

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - July 1, 2012 - Year B

By Dennis S. Hankins

Readings For This Sunday

Reaching Out to Touch Jesus

For she said, "If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well."

We don't know her name.  For twelve years she's suffered from an incurable flow of blood.  In his Gospel, Mark, gives us important details as to why she longs to be in the presence of Jesus.  But he leaves her and her story with us without giving us her name.  We know who is the ruler of the synagogue; his name is Jairus.  Perhaps Mark wants the Church to remember that anyone is welcome in the presence of Jesus.  Even the least among us is invited to come to Jesus.  For he who was rich for our sakes became poor that we by his poverty may become rich in the grace and love that are in him in abundance.

Jesus is our high priest.  He is moved by our infirmities and weaknesses.  Power is in him and in him our hope for life in its fulness is found in him.  In him we live and move and discover that we are created in his imperishable image.  In our creation we bear his likeness.  And in his redemption we receive his glory.  

I remember family trips in my childhood.  Late at night, while making our way home from visiting Grandma and Grandpa Hankins, my daddy would turn on the car radio. It seemed like every time he tuned in the station, the same program would be starting. Music swelled as the theme song began.  "God is just a prayer away," thundered the singer in a melodic and rich bass voice.  He paused as the chorus melted into a musical refrain. "This is the 'God Is Just A Prayer Away,' radio broadcast," he intoned.  And then he finished the beautiful song as the program began.  I remember how deeply moving that notion was to me.  God is as near as the prayer I breathe in the deepest part of my heart.     

Today's scriptures remind us just how close we can be to our Lord.  Jairus sought the Lord to ask him to come and touch his twelve year old daughter dying at home.  The woman with hemorrhaging in her body for twelve long years dared to press through the crowd just to touch the hem of Jesus' garment.  Both of these seekers of Jesus are motivated by a hope that is not of this world.  Hope is confidence that the night spent in weeping will find us rejoicing in him at the first rays of dawn.

Since the earliest days of the Church, those who reach out to touch the Lord know him in the most personal and profoundly deep fellowship.  The Apostle John describes those who listened to Jesus and looked upon him in awe.  And then in a tone that is remarkable in its simplicity and trust he says, "Which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, the word of life." (1 John 1:1)  

When we receive Holy Communion, we believe that Jesus is among us, just as he promised: "I will never leave you nor forsake you." God is reachable. He is touchable. Nothing can separate us from the love of God — not sin, not disease, not even a pressing crowd. 

For she said, "If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well." And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.

Be bold. Reach out. Your faith has made you whole.

Dennis Hankins is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN.  Prior to his uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. You can email him at   His website is:

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