The difference was, she did it on purpose

"As he went along, he passed a woman in the crowd who had been constantly bleeding for twelve years, and no one could heal her. She thought to herself, 'If I can just touch him, I will be healed.' So she reached out and touched the hem of his robe, and instantly she was healed. Jesus stopped and said to his disciples, 'Who touched me?' They laughed and said, 'Master, the crowd is pressing and jostling against you-- dozens of people have been touching you. How can you ask who it was?' He replied, 'I know someone touched me; I felt power go out from me.' Then the woman, seeing she could not go unnoticed, threw herself at Jesus' feet and in front of the whole crowd told how she had touched him and felt herself instantly healed. Jesus said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.'"

At the evening prayer service before the Confirmation banquet, I had the honor of reading the Gospel lesson for the day, and the quote at the beginning of this post was part of it. After the service, the story got me thinking.

The whole crowd touched him. Anyone close to Jesus, wanting to hear what he said, bumped up against him and pushed into him on all sides. Some of the crowd was behind him, pushing him forward. Others were in front, trying to hear and lead the way at the same time. They all touched him, but one woman reached out to him. One woman touched him on purpose, knowing that if she could just contact Christ, something would happen to her life.

In this story, where am I? I'd like to automatically say I was with that woman, reaching out to touch Jesus on purpose, but there are some days when I know I'm so familiar with Him that I know I'm probably bumping and pushing, maybe even getting ahead and trying to get Christ to follow me. How do I avoid that state?

And where are my students? I know they're reaching out, but there are many times when I know they're reaching out in the wrong direction. How do I keep them in the crowd so they can hear Christ, and hear from Him which direction they should be pointing?

Above all, I pray that they and I will learn to do all these things on purpose, conscious that something will happen when we contact Christ, even if we underestimate it.

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