Theme: Touchy! Touchy!
Raising of Jairus’ Daughter, Magdala
By: Deacon Bill Frere
Homily for Tuesday February 1 2022
Gospel – Mark 5:21-43
Sitting in one corner of our living room is a simple little wooden stool, the kind that you can spin the seat to raise its height. I don’t think I have ever actually sat on it. That’s not why it’s there. It was handmade by a good parish friend of mine. 4 years ago, that friend and fellow parishioner passed away from cancer and, a few days after his funeral, his son gifted me with that stool at the bequest of his dad. He was an all-around handyman and volunteer at St. Roberts. You could always count on him to jump in and help out, especially when it came to anything related to wood-working or carpentry. Frank always reminded me a lot of my grandfather who was a master carpenter. There was one thing you could always expect from Frank – a big smile and a warm handshake. I don’t mean a simple perfunctory and quick clasping of hands. I mean a hearty, two-handed, grip like you mean it, firm and slightly crushing handshake. And your hands remained clasped throughout the conversation. When Frank shook your hand, you knew it was coming from his heart and soul! It meant something special to him and he wanted you to know how special you were to him! That chair serves as a constant reminder to me of Frank’s friendship and presence in the lives of his friends, his family, and his parish.
We all know the value and meaning of gestures like that. That pat on the back that encourages! That strong handshake of friendship! The gentle touch of love on the cheek! That two-handed grasp on the shoulders that imparts comfort and blessing! We all know that touch! And over these past 15 months of pandemic and social-distancing, we all missed that touch. Truth be told, I think we have come to value it so much more now that we can offer that sign of peace at Mass and that loving hug to family, gestures of love and friendship that has been so long overdue.
In today’s Gospel, we hear of, not one, but two miracles – the cure of the woman with a 12-year hemorrhage and the raising of Jairus’ daughter. In both cases, the miracles occur through a simple touch of the hand. For the woman, it was a touch of faith, the belief that she could be cured by merely touching Jesus. With Jairus, Jesus takes his daughter by the hand and brings her back to life. Touch! A gentle touch of faith, a touch of love and compassion, a touch of healing and rebirth!
There used to be an old AT &T commercial about “reach out and touch someone”. If we haven’t already done so, maybe this is exactly the time to “reach out”. We have all missed that physical contact, that visible sign of friendship, of love and support. And if we are missing it, then our loved ones and our family has been missing it too. So take the time today and reach out with a gentle touch. Let your family and friends know you are thinking of them, how much you have missed them, how much you care for them. And in the process of touching their hand, we can also touch their heart! And for those who take the time to reach out to you, offer them a word of thanks and perhaps a good hearty handshake!
Great Spirit, I ask you today to help me to be more loving and compassionate, to step out of my comfort zone and reach out to others, to be a gentle caring person who sees the hurt in others and is willing to be a source of healing and faith. Aho!
Deacon Bill Frere