During the General Audience in St. Peter's Square this morning, Pope Francis reflected on the Matthew Gospel passage where the woman suffering from hemorrhages touched Jesus' cloak, knowing simply one touch would heal her.
He said the woman was "considered impure according to the Law,” yet she "trusted in Jesus’ mercy and saving power to free her from her illness and isolation.” This faith, he continued, brings salvation, offers healing and restores dignity.
SUMMARY OF THE CATECHESIS IN ENGLISH
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
In our catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy, we now consider Jesus’ cure of the woman suffering from hemorrhages (cf. Mt 9:20-22). This unnamed woman, considered impure according to the Law (cf. Lev 15:29-30), trusted in Jesus’ mercy and saving power to free her from her illness and isolation. Filled with deep faith, she reached out and touched his garment. In Hebrew religious tradition, wearing such a garment was a symbol of being clothed with the divine Law, the source of blessing. The woman’s gesture of touching his garment is thus a form of quiet prayer and a sign of hope. Jesus responds by looking upon her with tenderness and acknowledges her dignity. He treats her with love and heals her of her affliction. Faith in Christ brings salvation; it offers healing, restores right relationships between people and affirms our inviolable dignity. Jesus asks all of us to trust in his word and, having experienced his mercy, to be a leaven of that mercy in our world.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from Ireland, Malta, the Philippines, Vietnam, the US Virgin Islands and the United States of America. May your stay in the Eternal City confirm you in love for our Lord, and may he make you his missionaries of mercy, especially for all those who feel distant from God. May God bless you all!