The Woman who touched Jesus’ Garments

Mark 5, 21-43

We read this story today at Mass. Why does Mark insert the story of the woman who touched Jesus’ garments into the story of the dead girl brought back to life? Was it simply that she happened to meet him on his way to the girl’s house? Maybe there’s another reason.

A picture of the woman touching the garments of Jesus is one of the oldest pictures  found in the catacombs of Rome, where early Christians buried their dead. Is it there  to remind them that those who died had also touched the garments of Jesus? They didn’t see him, but he met them in signs.

Those buried there believed in him and were baptized with water; they received his life through that sign and entered into the mystery of his death and resurrection. They received his body and blood in the signs of bread and wine, and so like the woman they touched his garments.  His power and life went out to them.

The Gospel of Mark was written in Rome, most scholars say. Is Mark’s arrangement of the  stories of Jesus raising the dead girl to life and the woman touching his garments a way of teaching Roman Christians about the mystery of death? Jesus was with them on their last journey.

In preparing the Catechism of the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council the Roman authorities responsible for the catechism instructed publishers to put the picture from the catacombs of the woman touching the garments of Jesus at the beginning of the section on the sacraments.

She’s an example, an image of the present church which knows Jesus through sacraments.  She helps us believe in the power of simple signs.

6 thoughts on “The Woman who touched Jesus’ Garments

  1. Gail Smyder

    I think as we grow older we are more in touch with the mystery of death –looking at our own and through the experiences of losing those we love and also sharing the loss of friends and family who lose someone close to them.
    Just preparing parents to look forward with their children and look backward at their own reception of the sacraments { which now are more meaningful to them} is a journey that stretches my heart and enriches me beyond words.
    I love the connection you make here. You are a blessing–be blessed by those you meet these days ahead.
    You must have a wonderful collection of pictures and now a photographer as well………….

  2. Kappa Language School

    You’re welcome. I was so amazed when I found out how Sam Cooke managed to put this wonderful story in form of a song. This became istantly one of my favourites, for I find it very intense (as all his gospel production, especially with the Soul Stirrers).

  3. Gloria

    When my mother had the first of three cancers back in 1977, I prayed this
    Scripture for her. Vs. 34 was very special to me and to her. She had another
    cancer in 1979 and the final one in 1991, and recovered from all of them.
    She died in 1999 from cardio-respiratory failure, not cancer. Jesus’ words were true for her. Sam Cooke’s song is lovely.

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