13th Sunday B: Jesus Touches Our Loneliness

Jesus Touches Our Loneliness

An older woman and a young girl both encounter Jesus in moments of great isolation and loneliness.  Two women alone in the middle of crowds! The older woman is older, because of her flow of blood, is considered by Jewish law to be ritually impure, and so is unable to attend religious services and enjoy life.

Sickness eats away at our lives in many ways. Like the older woman, it can make us unable to enjoy the company of others and doing those things we enjoy. Going out or even moving about can become a challenge. It is easy to lose touch with friends and relatives. Loneliness affects many people and not just older people.

But she heard about Jesus and His healing touch and believes that He will be able to cure her if she can touch Him. Jesus speaks the healing word and she is healed not just in her body but from her utter isolation. She has got back her life and can go about life once again including worshiping God in public once again.

Then there is the young girl whose isolation is more extreme. She has died a crowd of people are weeping and wailing. The first reading tells us that God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. For he fashioned all things that they might have being. Jesus here is the Lord of Life. He has come so that we may have life and have it abundantly.

Everyone who has had a loved one die knows the radical loneliness of death, which has cast its dark shadow over the young girl. Those who are dying often experience a change as death draws near even when they are surrounded by those who love them.  The shadow of death can cause a person can feel radically alone.

In today’s Gospel, the touch of Jesus allows the woman to live a normal life with others and His touch allows the girl to have a new lease on life with her family. His touch allows both of them to once again share their life with others, leaving their isolation and loneliness behind. 

Like the older woman, our Lord on the cross also experienced loneliness, isolation and abandonment in His work of salvation.  Like the young girl, He will experience death as the most radical isolation of all.  He will lie in the coldness of the tomb until on Easter Morning when He will experience the resurrection to new life and His friends and disciples will be astonished and their mourning will be turned to celebration. 

Because Jesus has done this, we believe that our own moments of isolation, loneliness and abandonment are not final and need not crush us. We can face illness and even death with joy because we share such experiences with the Lord of Life.

Saint Paul says it so well; for I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

As we know, Saint Paul was eventually killed by the Roman government. However, they did not conquer him nor did they not separate him from God’s love for him, in Christ.