In St Mark’s Gospel story today we hear two powerful stories about healing. Two people are healed. One is a young girl, the daughter of a rich and influential religious leader. The other is an insignificant woman with no status at all in the ancient Jewish society. The latter, an older woman, would have had limited means, probably living at the margins of Galilean society. These two woman, one very young and the other older and less influential, came to the attention of Jesus.
St Mark, the author of the Gospel, is confronting us with a paradox. Is the daughter of a rich and powerful family treated any differently to an insignificant woman sitting destitute on a street corner?? No!
What St Mark does brilliantly, by connecting these two stories, is to tell us about our equality in the eyes of God. Jesus does not allow the privilege and prominence of the young girl, and her father’s pleading for her importance, to be overwhelming. His pleading does not distract Jesus from the plight of the poor woman on the street corner.
Poignantly Jesus calls the older woman “daughter”. He is reminding her, and us that she is as much a child of god as the daughter of a rich and powerful person.
The two stories of healing challenges all social ideologies that suggest that some people are more significant in God’s eyes than others.
Both rich and poor are equal in God’s eyes. Both rich and poor, from time to time, are in need of healing. God does not discriminate. Nevertheless, those who have less, deserve more. This is a lesson for us to reflect upon.