“Go back?" he thought. "No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!" So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
Gospel Text: (MT 9:18-26)
While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward,
knelt down before him, and said,
"My daughter has just died.
But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live."
Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples.
A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him
and touched the tassel on his cloak.
She said to herself, "If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured."
Jesus turned around and saw her, and said,
"Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you."
And from that hour the woman was cured.
When Jesus arrived at the official's house
and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion,
he said, "Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping."
And they ridiculed him.
When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand,
and the little girl arose.
And news of this spread throughout all that land.
In today’s Gospel passage are two people who see how God wants to be in their lives in time of need. So many people turn to Christ in need. When we are honest with ourselves, we know that we would like to ask Christ’s help for so many things in our lives. It’s true that petitionary prayer—in which we ask for something from God—is not as selfless a form of prayer as adoration. But God wants us to present our petitions to Him.
Consider the woman in the Gospel, who had suffered for so many years. She interrupts Christ right in the middle of His trying to help someone else. We should make that woman’s faith our own: not simply her faith in Christ’s power, but also her faith in His patience and compassion. There is no true need in our lives that we should not offer to God.
Is every petition answered as we wish, as are the petitions of this woman and the official? Some Christians stop offering their petitions to God—or even stop believing in God—when He doesn’t provide the responses they want. Growth in prayer includes the experience of accepting God’s “No”’s, and learning in them to trust more deeply His providential Will.