March 29, 2013

Emmaus Walk / Debra Tomaselli

What would you do if you met Jesus today?

Debra TomaselliWhat would you do if Jesus were coming to your town today? Would you be fearful? Would you race to meet him? Or would you be too busy to bother? Would you be interested? Skeptical?

That’s what happened when Jarius invited Jesus to come heal his dying daughter. Townspeople buzzed with reports of how Jesus restored sight to the blind, made the lame walk and drove demons from a lunatic.

Some scoffed at the stories, others were curious, some doubtful. But one woman believed, really believed, and the results were amazing.

She was a frail woman on the outskirts of society, an outcast who had suffered for years from a hemorrhage that neither doctors nor medicines could cure. She had spent all her resources and lost all her friends. Maybe it was desperation, maybe revelation, but she put her faith in Jesus.

She heard the crowds clamoring in the distance and bowed her head.

“Jesus,” she prayed. “Jesus, I need you.”

Gathering her courage, she set out, determined to see Jesus. Nothing would get in her way. Nothing else mattered. But when she found him surrounded by multitudes, her heart sank. She wondered how she would get to him.

Undaunted, she ducked her head, rounded her shoulders, and pushed through the crowd. The smell of body sweat didn’t stop her. The density of the crowd didn’t stop her. Her own weakness didn’t stop her. She kept her focus. She had to reach Jesus.

Finally, her feet faltered. Exhausted, she gasped for air. Tears stained her dirty cheeks.

“If only I could touch the hem of his garment,” she thought. With one last Herculean effort, she pushed through a sea of legs. As her fingertips touched Jesus’ rough cotton cloak, her strength returned. The bleeding stopped.

Amazed, she paused and stood tall.

“Jesus then asked, ‘Who touched me?’ ” (Lk 8:45). Everyone denied it.

“Who touched you?” Peter said. “You see this crowd pressing about you? Many people touched you” (Lk 8:45).

But Jesus knew. Someone touched him. Not out of curiosity, not a skeptic. Someone touched him … out of belief.

She froze. She was, after all, an outcast.

Trembling, she responded.

She expected condemnation.

Instead, she received absolution.

She expected imprisonment.

Instead, she received liberty.

She had been weak. Now, she was strong.

That is what Jesus does for us.

In the past, I’ve approached him absent-mindedly. But it was in my most desperate moments, when nothing else would do, that Jesus became my primary focus.

I chose to believe in him, pushing aside the distractions. I raced to Mass, opened my Bible, became a lector, and joined a prayer group. In return, his healing power restored me. He knew it, and so did I.

“Who touched me?” He asks. I tremble. I feel so unworthy.

But he reaches over and delivers precious gifts—peace, harmony, forgiveness, love.

Faith is our choice. It is the key that unlocks the mystery.

Jesus addressed the woman with a word of endearment, “daughter.” Then he turned to her and said, “Your faith has healed you. Go in peace” (Lk 8:48).

He says the same to you and to me.

(Debra Tomaselli writes from Altamonte Springs, Florida. She can be reached at

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