Reflecting on the Gospel for Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

From The Gospel of Mark by Mary Healy, commenting on Mark 5:34:

As soon as the woman realizes Jesus is seeking her out, she is afraid. And no wonder, because by deliberately touching another person she has just breached the rules regarding ritual impurity. But as the leper discovered (1:41), it is impossible to make Jesus unclean; rather, his touch makes the unclean clean. . . . She falls down before Jesus (a gesture of homage, as in v. 22), and confesses her daring act.

Far from reprimanding her for her boldness, Jesus reassures her, addressing her affectionately as daughter. Like all those who “do the will of God” (3:35), she is welcomed into his family. Jesus will later commend Bartimaeus with the same words: Your faith has saved you (10:52). The Greek verb sōzō, used here in verses 23, 28, and 34, means both “save” and “heal.” The woman’s faith has opened her to receive not only physical healing but also the ultimate salvation of body and soul that it prefigures.

© 2008 Mary Healy and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.