Will you still respect me when I recall how I once spent part of a summer vacation?
I fear not.
Within the course of a summer week, my wife and I binge-watched a season of 24. As you probably recall from that now ancient TV series, each episode represented one “real time” hour. The actions begin and conclude during a single frenzied, fractious day (which takes twenty-four shows to resolve).
In order to keep the plot’s velocity at breakneck speed, there was a dump truck’s load of unbelievable scenes. An example? Two different characters shot themselves to cover their duplicity with the bad guys. Apparently, in the fictional world of caffeinated thrillers, a bad guy’s so-called friends won’t suspect deceitful actions if he’s bleeding after the firefight.
Mark 5: 21-43 – The 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time – for July 1, 2012
“But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth.” (Mark 5:33)
What’s a “worst experience” . . . that changed your life for the better?
I ask because of Jesus’ Gospel encounter with the influential Jairus and an unknown, ill woman. As I pondered how these two people met Jesus in the twenty-three verses of Mark’s fifth chapter, the final words of a singular verse lingered:
But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. (Mark 5:33)
The. Whole. Truth.
A sick woman touches Jesus’ clothes. After twelve years of misery, she’s healed. The worst ends; her living death becomes a lively future.
What was the whole truth she told Jesus?
Did she confess to being a woman, and therefore—in that hierarchical, male-dominated world—little more than property, forever a second-class citizen? But she wouldn’t need to mention her gender to Jesus, since it was as obvious as her insignificance.
Did she share the anguish of being labeled unclean? Her illness meant, according to Jewish law, she was fouled, persona non grata. After twelve long years of bleeding, she wouldn’t have to explain much to Jesus, or any Jew, for him to understand.
Did she detail the horror stories of physicians who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) help, of watching her savings vanish as she paid and paid and paid? She wouldn’t need to elaborate on those futile, expensive visits because Jesus then—and you and me now—would immediately understand. At times we might read the Bible and mutter, “I don’t get it . . .” And yet, whether in ancient Palestine or a tale shared with you last week in the supermarket by a neighbor, everyone has empathy for medical mayhem and misery.
While Jesus hurried to see Jairus’ dying daughter, while crowds pressed close to praise or touch or scoff at the Nazarene, while dull-witted disciples murmured excuses, while the day’s furious heat parched throats . . . what was the whole truth shared by the woman?
Obviously, we’ll never know. But you know your whole truth . . .
What’s one of your worst experiences . . . that transformed your life in positive ways? Continue reading →