I want you to think about this question: What is your relationship with Jesus like?
I’m not looking for an answer like, “Fine,” or “Good,” or even “Awesome!” Rather, what sort of a relationship do you have with Jesus Christ?
As a “Christ-ian,” you we bear His name and call ourselves His disciples; however, what is the real relationship with Him like – when the church candles are snuffed out and the pews are empty? How do we see this man, Jesus, in our daily lives?
If you’ve been paying attention lately, you have probably heard Fr. Greg, Deacon Herman, and me talking about a “real, personal relationship” with Jesus Christ. Here’s a “spoiler alert” too: we’re going to keep talking about it! It might seem more Protestant to some – it certainly hasn’t been a regular part of our Catholic discussion; however, it is neither Protestant nor Catholic – it is Christian. Anyone who calls himself or herself a disciple of Jesus must have some sense of our relationship with Him.
So what is it?
Is He a sort of “divine doctor,” whom we call upon when we or loved ones are sick but don’t really address beyond that?
Is He like Santa Claus, keeping a list and making sure that we make it to Mass and do all the “good stuff” we’re supposed to do?
Is He the Judge who is waiting to point out all our faults when we “finally” encounter Him?
Many of us were raised to have a “devotional” relationship with Christ. We may pray our Rosaries, special prayers or novenas, go to Mass regularly – check in check out: “Hello, Jesus. I love you. I’ll be back.” And there’s nothing “wrong” with this – it fosters the relationship. However, it cannot be the entire relationship.
The woman in the Gospel today knows – she believes – that Jesus can heal her – even if she only touches his clothes. She is determined to slip in, touch Him, be healed, and to slip away; Jesus can go His way (after all, He was already “busy”), and she would go hers. However, this is not what Jesus would want – and I’ll tell you why.
When Christ knows that power has gone out from Him, He immediately seeks the one whose touch called forth that healing. “Who touched me?” Imagine Jesus wheeling around in the crowd, desperately looking for the one whose faith was that strong. The terrified woman knows that she cannot simply go away, so she encounters Jesus – just like He wants – and tells her entire story to Him: her pain, her suffering, the long years, the hurt, the brokenness – and the faith. Jesus is amazed, and this encounter not only has healed the woman; it has saved her.
This is what Jesus desired for each one of us. We know that we can turn to Him whenever we need Him; however, the reality is that He is always there – seeking us, desiring to know us and for us to know Him – not just to know about Him, or what He can do. This is a real, personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and it not only brings wholeness to our broken lives; it saves us.
Don’t let your relationship be like that woman at first – where she was willing to take what she needed from Jesus and to go away. He wants to know you! He is looking for you! And, He is looking for all those whom we love – who would otherwise be here now, but for whatever reason have strayed or given up on a real relationship. Jesus is seeking them too – and He will find them through us. We must speak of Jesus, our friend, with whom we have a relationship that drives everything we do – what we wear, how we speak, how we act, where we go. This is the power of witness.
The woman who is healed is lifted up by Jesus – just like that little girl will be – and she is transformed – not only in herself, but to all those around her. Jesus notices her, and because of that, the others notice her too. She becomes a living witness to the power of faith and of a relationship with the Lord.
Here, we encounter Jesus as well – with our brokenness, our need. Jesus sees us and desires to remain with us, so He feeds us with the Eucharist, and He sends us forth to seek the lost and the broken. Deep down, those in our lives know Jesus can do great things for them. Beyond that, Jesus wants so badly to be with them all the time, and for them to know that. Our job is to realize that we have this relationship, and in living it out to share it with all whom we meet.