Two-year-old Zippy has recently discovered FaceTime. She loves to talk to Nonna and “A’Reece” (Aunt Grace), but is sometimes a bit confused as to how the technology works. She will giggle with delight when we answer and our faces appear on the screen, as though we have come to visit her. “Hi Zippy! Hi Honey!” we say. “Hi Zippy, Hi Honey!” she says in happy reply.
She is dismayed however if we don’t share our snacks; she is always generous with hers, trying to put them through the phone (her mother’s turn to be dismayed). She waves the phone around to show us her dinner or her dolls, and we try not to get dizzy. Sometimes she will sit and “talk” for awhile—sometimes not saying anything, sometimes chattering away, while we get a steady view of her eyebrows and the top of her head.
During the recent government shutdown, her father came up to visit us and help out for a bit while he was out of work. When we called to FaceTime, Zippy was ecstatic to suddenly see Daddy on the phone as well.
Shortly after he had returned home to Maryland, the whole family called on FaceTime. My brother passed the phone to Zippy, who was excited to talk to us, but unhappy that we wouldn’t show her Daddy. “Zippy see Daddy!” she implored. “I am right here!” my brother laughed behind her. But Zippy was not placated until Daddy moved around so that she could see his face in the small screen she was holding. “Daddy! Dere you are!” she laughed delightedly.
* * *
In today’s Gospel a woman is seeking Jesus. She has had a flow of blood for twelve years; doctors have only made things worse. And this flow of blood has in turn made her “unclean”—a spiritual outcast, barred from the temple and the touch of other people.
She has heard great things about Jesus and thinks that if she could but touch the hem of His garment, she would be cured. She moves quietly through the crowd, comes behind Him, and touches His clothing. Immediately, she realizes she is healed.
Jesus, however, recognizes a deeper desire for connection. He knows that healing power has gone out of Him, and asks the confused crowd “Who touched me?”
The woman must then confess; she comes forward, revealing herself and tells what has happened.
“Daughter,” Jesus replies, “Your faith has made you well.”
She had sought merely the restoration of her health. Jesus restores her identity, her relationship with her Father. “Daughter…”
This deep desire—was it only on the part of the woman?
It is a central mystery of Christianity that our love, desire, and faith actually begin as God’s initiative toward us. It is He who first loves us; He who calls us to prayer, who plants the desire in our hearts, who is the source of both our longing and its fulfillment.
Photo Credit: Michelangelo, Public Domain