What struck me in this gospel reading was the last sentence of the reading. St. Mark says: "and as many as touched it were healed." The fame of Jesus in Galilee, even early in his public life, was such that when people heard he was coming they hurried to gather together their sick in hopes for a cure. On this day Jesus was recognized as soon as he came ashore at Gennesaret. And the townspeople rushed in a great frenzy to gather together their sick. They placed them on mats in the marketplace where they hoped to touch the cloak of Jesus as he passed by. When Jesus arrived he was not in a great hurry. He probably moved slowly through the town so as to give as many as possible the opportunity to reach up and touch him. There must have been great crowds in each town that Jesus passed through. And so there were probably a great many healings that day.
In some of the miracles mentioned in the gospels the evangelists give many details about the persons healed and about the words and actions of Jesus. In the healings in today's gospel no details at all are given. We don't know the names of those who were healed. We don't know their illnesses. We don't know what Jesus said or did as he passed through their towns. But we do know the most important thing about this day. We know that many sick people were healed. We know that on this day Jesus was doing the work that he was sent to do. Through these miraculous healings he was teaching all the people in those towns to believe in him. He was giving them the gift of faith. And I think that the important thing for us today is the gift of faith. The details of these healings are not as important as what they represen: The faith in Jesus that we share with all of those he heals.
By Tom Bannantine