Last week, I spent my adoration hour holding onto the hem of Jesus' garment. At our parish, there's a cloth that covers the monstrance if your time in adoration is done but no one is there left to stay and pray with the Lord. And even though I've seen it countless times during adoration hours, it wasn't until last week that I realized how the Lord wanted to speak to my heart through that monstrance covering.
Mark 5:25-34 is a passage in Scripture that I've been holding onto these past months. A woman is afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years, and Scriptures tells us that she had "suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all she had." After she had heard about the Lord, she came up behind in the crowd and touched the hem of his cloak.
A woman who's physical illness has made her an outcast from society - she wants to encounter the Lord but she doesn't want to be seen. So she comes up from behind him and touches just the hem.
But Christ won't let her hide in shame. He turns to his disciples and asked "Who touched my clothes?" In a crowd full of people, Christ sees this woman, and calls her out of her shame. She approaches him "in fear and trembling," but he doesn't shame her. Instead He asks her to tell Him her whole story, messy parts and all.
But he doesn't stop there - He calls her "daughter."
Sisters, how many of us can see our story in the story of this woman? Maybe we've been diagnosed with a physical or mental illness and have suffered greatly at the hands of many, many doctors. Perhaps we've spent all we've had.
Christ doesn't shame us - He calls us 'daughter'. He desires to hear our whole story - even the messy parts. He invites us to reach out in a moment of trust and faith and simply rest with our hands on the hem of His garment.
This summer I was blessed with an opportunity to host one of my dear friends, Sarah. She lived in our house for the month of June and during those four weeks, she led a study on the feminine genius. Early one Saturday morning, we went out onto the back patio with warm cups of coffee and talked about sensitivity. The image she encouraged us to reflect on was that of Veronica, wiping the face of Christ.
We don't know much about Veronica - she doesn't appear in Scripture. We encounter her during Lent in the Stations of the Cross, though. Some Scripture scholars think that Veronica is the same woman as the woman with hemorhages who touched the hem of Christ's garment.
I loved meditating on how radically this woman's life was changed, if she is the same woman as the woman in Mark's Gospel.
This woman, shamed by her society, all too familiar with blood, reaches out and touches Christ's hem. She doesn't desire a face to face encounter, perhaps ashamed or afraid that Christ would think her a bother, or doubting her self-worth. But Christ calls her "daughter," inviting her into an intimate relationship with Him. A relationship where He knows her whole story.
Can you imagine what it must have been like for this woman, Veronica, to spot Jesus in the street on His way to calvary? He is shunned by those who loved Him, held in no esteem, someone who people turn away from. He's beaten, and she sees blood all over his body and his face.
So she goes up to Him. Not to touch his hem, but to take off her veil, something that covers her, and offer it to Him in a move of absolute sensitivity and vulnerability. She encounters the Lord face to face, despite the crowd's pressure for her to turn away, to go back home.
Where in your life is the Lord inviting you to encounter Him face to face? He offers us this divine intimacy in the Eucharist.
More intimate than touching the hem of his garment.
More intimate even than offering our clothes for his bloody face.
He offers us His very body and blood, desiring to dwell within our bodies.
“Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction."