Sunday, July 01, 2018

Fr Dzungwe harps on 'He touched, gave me life again' - ITREALMS

The gospel reading of today narrates to us two stories. Both, stories of women who are both ‘dead’ in their own way. The two women represent two different age groups: the younger one has died before time, at the onset of adolescence, and the cause of her death is unknown; the older woman is socially dead. Jesus raises both to life – new life.

In the older woman's story, Mark adds that she “… had suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years; after long and painful treatment under various doctors, she had spent all she had without being any the better for it; in fact, she was getting worse (Mk 5:25-26).” but other synoptics omited this.This can be implied from Leviticus 15:19-33; she would have been physically weak, religiously ostracised, since she could not have participated in worship – she could not enter the synagogue. She was socially isolated because she could not participate in any social events. May be even her husband left her because they could not touch each other. Moreover she was economically drained out since “she had spent all she had.” She was as good as dead!

The healing that she received from Jesus now re-establishes her humanity, for “The Lord has looked upon the humiliation of his servant… For the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name. He has used the power of his arm… He has raised high the lowly… He has filled the starving with good things… He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his faithful love” (Lk 1: 46-55). This is a hymn that many women could sing even today.

Jesus expressed his humane compassion in both cases, He touched them. In both cases, that touching was a taboo-broken. The bleeding woman was not supposed to touch anyone; she would render unclean everything that she touched. But that was a special touch even for Jesus. In that touch her faith is made tangible, and Jesus appreciates it: “My daughter,” he said, “your faith has restored you to health; go in peace and be free of your complaint” (Mk 5:34).

In the second case, Jesus breaks the taboo by touching a dead child. Touching the dead body would have rendered him unclean. He could not have participated in social interaction without having a bath following such a contact with the dead body. He could have worked the miracle just by uttering a word. But touching was necessary to re-establish the humanity of the child, at the risk of Jesus being impure. And finally, here is yet another powerful expression of Jesus’s humanity: he told them to give her something to eat.

Today the believing community – we, the Church – have the responsibility to be channels of that humane compassion of Jesus, especially to women. How can the Church accompany young people like Neema so that they don’t die before time? How can we ensure the dignity of women within the Church today? Rather than justifying the unfair traditions within the Church through our theologising, should we not just face the reality and act as Jesus did, even if it means breaking some age-old taboos?

Nigeria needs this 'touch', maybe your family needs it, your bussiness is crying out like jairus for such touche; your health, your studies, your mariage are all striving for this touche. Yes strive on, never give up. Overcome that crowd between you and Christ. 
The leaders could be your obstructing crowd, maybe your friends or relation; the crowd could be your wishes and sins.

These taboos and unfair laws are the 'crowd' we see in the gospel today. That crowd that tries to stop you from touching jesus. That crowd that delays your healing, that crowd that masterminds your bussiness bankrupt, that crowd that terms you unclean, etc. Today Jesus restores you, retores your hope. He is saying to you and you dreams 'Talithacuumi' - arise and walk.

Happy Sunday, Happy new month.

*Contributed by Rev.Father Simon Peter Dzungwe

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