It is good to remind ourselves sometimes why anything in the gospels was written at all. It was written that we might be drawn into a relationship with Jesus Christ, so why might someone be drawn to Jesus by this reading from Mark?
Well first of all it portrays Jesus as the great healer – not just of serious medical issues like the woman with the haemorrhage but even has power over death.
Healing has both physical and spiritual dimensions. Conversion to Christianity is most often portrayed as passing from spiritual death to life and the baptism rite is supposed to symbolise that. We recall what St. Paul said about it.
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6: 3-4)
So baptism itself is a spiritual healing prefigured by these physical healings from death and illness.
What Mark wants us to get from this passage is that Jesus is Lord of life and is someone who has dominion over all life.
What is also interesting is that the woman came to Jesus of her own accord, whereas the Father interceded on behalf of his daughter. On both occasions Jesus responded. We know the woman had faith that she would be healed but there is no indication that the little girl had any faith at all but because her Father had faith and asked on her behalf, Jesus still responded.
His grace and mercy are wider than we are often able to see or admit and can act through the faith of third parties.
Healing in the Christian tradition is primarily spiritual. The Hebrew concept of Shalom speaks of much more than peace, but speaks of wholeness, completeness, and this is the spiritual healing we all want.
Physical healings also take place but why one and not another eludes us. For an insight into a Christian response into physical suffering as opposed to spiritual suffering and healing we need look no further than Saint Paul himself.
He was famously afflicted with a debilitating physical condition which is never spelled out but to which Paul refers to as “my thorn in my flesh”.
It is significant that Paul writes that he prayed to be healed three times that this thorn should leave him but God spoke to him and said “My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (Romans 12: 9)
God’s Grace and power was shown up better with Paul’s thorn in his flesh than without it. The word “perfect” means “complete” in the Hebrew idiom.
As we ponder that, our thoughts might inevitably turn towards the sufferings of Jesus, borne graciously and made complete in and through the suffering on the cross, that through suffering, completeness, perfection, healing and salvation were revealed.