A woman touching the cloak of Jesus,
Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter, Rome,
First half 4th century AD,
Mural painting
© Christian Art Today

A woman touching the cloak of Jesus,
Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter, Rome,
First half 4th century AD,
Mural painting
© Christian Art Today

Gospel of 10 February 2020

All those who touched Him were cured

Mark 6:53-56

Having made the crossing, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up. No sooner had they stepped out of the boat than people recognised him, and started hurrying all through the countryside and brought the sick on stretchers to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, to village, or town, or farm, they laid down the sick in the open spaces, begging him to let them touch even the fringe of his cloak. And all those who touched him were cured.

Reflection on the Catacomb Mural Painting

One of the first Christian representations of Jesus ever, is this 4th century painting in the Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter, Rome. It depicts the essence of the Gospel reading today: ‘people were begging Him to let them touch even the fringe of his cloak. And all those who touched Him were cured’. It may also be the representation of Jesus healing the bleeding woman more specifically. Anyway, this shows how the early Christian communities were particularly taken with this Gospel reading and the healing powers of Jesus’ ministry.

The ancient term to designate these burial sites is coemeterium, which derives from the Greek and means “dormitory”, thereby stressing the fact that for Christians, burial is just a temporary moment while they wait for the final resurrection. In antiquity, the term 'catacomb' and still used to this day, referred to the Christian underground cemeteries in Rome, mainly on the Appian Way.

We are well into Mark’s Gospel now, at Chapter 6, and we can sense that we are at the height of the popularity of Jesus. People are desperate to meet Christ, see Him and touch Him. We hear that His healing powers are flowing abundantly for everyone, no matter who they are, where they come from or what illness they have. The crowds fully trusted in Him; just touching the cloak would heal them…The crowds recognised His power. So the real question for us today is whether we recognise that too? Do we trust He has the power to help us in our time of need?

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