This Sunday's gospel has two quite different stories of Jesus healing. One story interrupts the other and at first I wondered why St. Mark who wrote the gospel didn't sort them out and give them separately, as they are obviously quite different. In fact, the short form of the gospel cuts out the interruption - and that is a pity because the two miracles highlight the meaning of each other. The main story is one of the most charming and moving stories of the gospel, the healing of a 12-year-old girl, the idol of her mother and father. While Jesus is on the way with her distraught father to get there before she dies, his journey is interrupted by a woman who is worried about her own complaint. We are naturally more moved by the image of the little girl, but Jesus doesn't see it like that.
The father of the little girl was a synagogue official, an absolute pillar of his parish and he did not hesitate to ask Jesus to come to his home. The woman was more of an embarrassment, suffering in a way that only be appreciated by women who have suffered heavy periods. She had had it for 12 years, exactly the length of that little girl's life. Not only was it an embarrassing complaint, but the Jews of that time considered it unclean. For them during her period of menstruation a woman should not come in contact with other people, and that's why she felt so guilty in trying to touch Jesus. With all the sympathy we may feel for the woman, we are more inclined to appreciate the feeling of a mother and father whose daughter is dying. But what they felt for their little girl was what Jesus felt for this poor woman. She is his daughter and that's what he called her, "My daughter!"