14th Week in Ord. Time, Monday – 6th July 2020 — Gospel: Mt 9,18-26
Life giving defilement
In this twin story, Jesus reaches across Israel’s purity codes. In either instance, Jesus does not transgress the law; he just practices the art of following. In the first, the Jewish official presents the case of his dying daughter and begs Jesus to come and lay his hands on her. Here, the official goes against the warning regarding the defilement that comes from the contact with dead corpses (Num 19,11-12). At the insistence of the girl’s father Jesus touches ritual impurity and restores the dead girl to life. In the second, a woman suffering from hemorrhages sneaks up from the crowd and touches Jesus. Book of Leviticus renders vaginal blood unclean and any menstruating woman is a woman to be avoided (Lev 15,25). But this woman defies the purity codes to be healed, and to be claimed as a daughter of God. In both cases Jesus initiates neither contact. He practices the art of following. First of all, the hemorrhage woman in touching Jesus crosses the boundary between purity and impurity. She, not Jesus, proves that purity is more contagious than impurity. She gives confidence for the Jewish official of his claim for ritual impurity. Could it be that the girl’s father and the hemorrhaging woman draw Jesus out to this ministry of touching? In fact, the woman and the girl forgo the finality of biology, refusing to believe that the dead remains dead, that after 4380 days of bleeding nothing will stop the flow. Instead they desperately reach Jesus who defiles the laws of nature, who leaves the grave empty, who is never too late for new life.