Submission from a friend
There is a true account of a woman, Hodierne of Villetaneuse, in France. For eleven years she suffered from a devastating illness until she could only leave her bed once a year. It appeared her lot was an early and painful death. Then she heard of the miracles occurring at the tomb of a saintly king and made the journey. Grasping his tomb and a briefly praying she was miraculously healed. Such is the power of faith.
In a certain sense there is almost no relation to the Gospel. No story fully describes the divine actions of our Lord Jesus. All comparisons pale beside the light of the divine source of Truth itself. The eloquence of a preacher is a mere window dressing. At most it’s an earthen vessel holding heavenly treasure. Experience tells us what contains a treasure often hides the treasure’s true value. The wrapping of a gift is usually thought worthless and thrown away. So it is with the preaching of the Gospel. Why do many not listen to a priest’s homily? Often the vessel or in this case the messenger obscures the message of our Lord. We only see the vessel that veils the treasure of our Lord and not God’s message to us. Yet the hidden treasure is there if with eyes of faith we go through the veil and enter the inner sanctuary to see God face to face.
In the gospel a woman suffered twelve years from an illness no doctor could relieve. Desperately she sought Jesus for she believed by touching his cloak she would be healed. Her sickness made her a pariah. All she touched required purification- persons and things. This sounds strange to us but some illnesses in the Mosaic Law symbolized the danger of sin and its harm to our relationship with God and others. By mingling with the crowd and seeking to touch Jesus she risked punishment. She believed Jesus was more powerful than her illness, impurity and the Law of Moses. She dared to touch His cloak.
Matthew and Luke provide more details than Mark. They say the woman touched the tassels on Jesus’ cloak. Did this flow only from fear? No, else she would have cried out from afar as others did. There must be another reason. The answer is hidden in what she grasped. In Deuteronomy 22:12 and Numbers 15: 38 Israelites are ordered to wear blue tassels on their cloaks. In ancient times this color signified royalty for it was very expensive. In the Middle East blue tassels declared to Jews and Gentiles the owner’s special status and relationship with God. All God’s people were royalty. In 1 Samuel, Saul seized the tassels of Samuel’s cloak, tearing it. The symbol of royalty was torn from Samuel’s garment as the kingdom was from Saul’s hands. This woman grasped the very symbol of royalty and power.
We can now grasp what the woman did as she grasped the tassels of our Lord’s robe. Tradition claims she was a Gentile. Either way she desired entry to the kingdom of God. Zechariah 8:23 says in the end days Gentiles of every language shall come to one Jew and grasp the tassels of his cloak saying we want to go with you for God is with you. Who else can be the Savior of all except he who is called Emmanuel or God with us. She is one of the Gentiles who grasp the mercy of the One who contains all the promises of the Old and New Covenants in His person- Our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is king of heaven as only through the triumph of His Passion, Cross and Resurrection we enter heaven. In grasping the tassels she seized the symbols of Jesus’ kingly power seeking to be received into his kingdom.
Jesus says her faith has healed her and to go in peace. In Greek the words have overtones of spiritual salvation. The power went forth from Jesus due to the woman’s faith that He would heal her body and soul from the power of sin. In recognizing Jesus’ power she recognized His kingship. Only God has all power and authority over sin, illness and death. Both women recognized the status and power of those they sought healing from though it was cloaked by a veil. Both knew the power came from Jesus Christ as God and King. Both died in the end as do we all. God healed their bodies a sign of His power and promise to raise all his children up on the Day of Judgment to experience His Love and Justice for eternity- free from all sickness and harm at last. His kingdom has and will triumph. Faithfully both women saw the treasure cloaked by a veil and entered the holy of Holies to see the very face of God. Let us also firmly grasp the mercy of Jesus who is Christ the king and our God and Savior. Let us by the grace of faith ask Him to receive grace of salvation as they did. Let us seek the face of God.