14th Week in Ord. Time, Tuesday – 5th July 2022 — Gospel: Mt 9,32-38
Responding to Openness
The final healing (9,32-34) in this miracle section (chs. 8 & 9) is an exorcism that leads to a cure. The root cause of man’s muteness is due to his demon possession. When Jesus casts out the demons then the man speaks. It is interesting to note in this account two opposite reactions to this healing. On the one hand, the crowds are amazed at the healing and consider it unprecedented in Israel. These simple people manifested great admiration in the extraordinary power of the divine. On the other hand, the religious leaders could not deny the reality of these miraculous events, so they attributed his power to lower source. In fact, they rejected Jesus and his power because He violated their traditions. This divided response of wonder and hostility to Jesus continues throughout the gospel. Jesus condemns the attitude of the Pharisees as “unpardonable sin” (Mt 12,22 ff), which is nothing but the continual rejection of faith in Him. They are so blind to their preconceived notions, that they are unable to see God’s kingdom manifested in Jesus’ authoritative words and actions. Instead Jesus looks to the crowds, who are humble and open to his teaching and healing. This strengthens him to go ahead in fulfilling His Father’s mission amidst hurdles in his ministry of teaching, preaching and healing (9,35).
14th Week in Ord. Time, Monday – 4th July 2022 — Gospel: Mt 9,18-26
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.