Faith and Healing

HOMILY WEEK 14 01- Year II

Birthing Newness Through Faith and Covenant Love

(Hos 2:14-16,19-20; Ps 145; Matt 9:18-26)


Have faith in Jesus; touch the hem of his garment, receive healing and participate in a new creation.

There is a relational progression in the readings today. In the first reading from Hosea, God is like a lover tenderly calling Israel to come back to her first fervor. God wants an intimate, covenantal marriage relationship with God’s people, involving righteousness, justice, steadfast love and mercy. God wants God’s people to truly know and experience God’s love.

Psalm 145 unfolds what God is truly like: kind, merciful, slow to anger, gracious, abounding in steadfast love. Our response to that love is to praise God and celebrate God’s awesome deeds.

Healing Jairus’ daughter

In the Gospel we see God incarnate, Jesus, performing two miracles. A synagogue leader’s daughter has died, and an older woman with a hemorrhage wants to touch his cloak. By touching the hem of his garment with faith, she is healed, and because of the faith of the synagogue official, the girl is raised back to life.

These two figures in the gospel are significant, appearing in all three Synoptic Gospels. Unlike Matthew, Luke is careful to point out that the girl is “about 12” and that the woman had suffered for 12 years. One is at the age of puberty while the other is barren. One died before being able to give birth; the other was unable to birth new life. She touches Jesus and should have rendered him unclean. But so great is her faith, that her touch, instead, renders her clean. Jesus effectively restores her to full participation in her community. The most important outcome is this: Jesus implicitly puts an end to the ritual code of Leviticus. The identity of the new Israel, the Church, would not be through ritual behaviours but through imitation of him.

Jesus’ miracles are all revelatory – he is not a miracle worker who performs miracles for their own sake. Note that Jesus never healed appendicitis. All his miracles have a purpose. He heals the mute so they can praise God, as in the psalm. He heals the deaf so they can hear God’s word. He heals the lame so they can walk and spread God’s word. He heals the blind so they can see the beauty of God’s creation and praise God for it.

The meaning here is that Jesus is about to birth something new in the world; a new world order, a new creation, as foretold in the first reading. By putting our complete faith and trust in him, we can participate in that new creation. Just touching the hem of his garment with faith brings healing to us.

An unusual example might be youth drinking all weekend, who sneak into 5 pm mass on Sunday, and sit at the back with sunglasses on. They are touching the hem of the garment of Jesus just by being there with some degree of faith, and forgiveness and healing is happening

The Eucharist is truly touching the hem of Jesus’ garment, and healing is happening to us right here and now – through Jesus’ word and sacrament. May our celebration deepen our faith in Jesus, bring us healing and new life, and empower us to share that life with others.



Updated: July 8, 2024 — 2:37 am

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