A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak. She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.” Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” And from that hour the woman was cured. Matthew 9: 20-22
This Gospel passage is very personal.
In 1979 I played the part of this woman in a stage production based on the life of Christ, written, directed and produced by our parish priest at the time, Rev. Robert F. Mordino (Fr. Bob). It was through this experience that I really started contemplating this extraordinary man, Jesus. I wanted to know him. I searched for him. I asked him to come into my life the way he did for the woman in this Gospel. I came to know him more intimately by putting myself in the place of someone who so desperately wanted to be healed. But also, I wanted to encounter all that He is, to just be near Him.
So I would ask myself what it would feel like to suffer as she did through years of unbearable physical pain, with an illness that surely made her an outcast, feeling unwanted and unloved, forgotten. By putting myself in her place to get into character for a stage production, my faith was challenged in a new way. I wanted to be like her-- to be SO SURE that if I was in a state of desperation, at rock bottom, as she was, that He would come through! The woman with the hemorrhage had so much faith that she believed touching His cloak would be enough. And to our surprise….it was enough! Why are we so surprised when we read that Jesus is who He says He is?
I pondered my lines from the play over and over again:
FOR TWELVE YEARS I HAVE HAD TO BEAR THIS AFFLICTION. I AM WEAK AND IN CONSTANT PAIN. DARE I HOPE THAT HE WOULD HELP ME, AS HE HAS SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE? AM I WORTHY THAT SUCH A HOLY PERSON SHOULD LIFT FROM ME THIS BURDEN? AND YET, IF I DON NOT TURN TO HIM NOW, I MAY NEVER HAVE SUCH A CHANCE AGAIN. BUT HOW CAN I APPROACH HIM? THE CROWD IS SO LARGE I CANNOT POSSIBLY GAIN HIS ATTENTION….I KNOW…A MAN OF SUCH GREAT POWER AND GOODNESS NEED NOT BE ASKED, IF I BUT TOUCH PART OF HIS CLOAK, I KNOW I SHALL BE CURED.
JC: WHO TOUCHED MY CLOAK? SOMEONE TOUCHED MY CLOAK AND I FELT HEALING POWER GO OUT OF ME.
LORD, I AM THE ONE WHO TOUCHED YOUR CLOAK. FOR LONG YEARS I HAVE SUFFERED WITH A TERRIBLE ILLNESS. I KNEW THAT IF I BUT TOUCHED YOUR CLOAK THAT WOULD BE ENOUGH. I WOULD BE HEALED, AND I WAS! I AM! THANK YOU JESUS OF NAZARETH, THANK YOU!
JC: HAVE COURAGE MY DAUGHTER, YOUR FAITH HAS SAVED YOU. GO IN PEACE.
After this “on stage” encounter with Christ, I sang a song “I Quietly Turned to You”. Those lyrics came back to my mind in October 2014, and I realized that this song and this Gospel scene are very personal to me, not because of my past history with them, but because of the present. My present. As I sing now, I clearly see how many times Jesus has sought me out, has patiently waited on ME to accept His offer to be MY Help, My Hope, MY Friend, My Healer!
I want to share this song with you, because it is my prayer that as we turn to Jesus Christ in our pain, anguish and fear, that He will turn to us with His PEACE, JOY and PERFECT LOVE!
I dedicate this song to the priest who first taught me about Jesus! Fr. Robert F. Mordino (1937-2007) A PRIEST FOREVER