Encounter between Jesus and the hemorrhaging woman,
Painted by Daniel Cariola,
Oil on canvas,
Executed in 1998
© The Encounter Chapel, Magdala
Your faith has restored you to health
While Jesus was speaking, up came one of the officials, who bowed low in front of him and said, ‘My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and her life will be saved.’ Jesus rose and, with his disciples, followed him. Then from behind him came a woman, who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years, and she touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, ‘If I can only touch his cloak I shall be well again.’ Jesus turned round and saw her; and he said to her, ‘Courage, my daughter, your faith has restored you to health.’ And from that moment the woman was well again.
When Jesus reached the official’s house and saw the flute-players, with the crowd making a commotion he said, ‘Get out of here; the little girl is not dead, she is asleep.’ And they laughed at him. But when the people had been turned out he went inside and took the little girl by the hand; and she stood up. And the news spread all round the countryside.
Reflection on the painting
I had the pleasure of seeing this painting in Magdala (hometown of Mary Magdalene) on a recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I had seen images of it before but had never seen the canvas in reality. The painting by Chilean artist Daniel Cariola hangs behind the altar at the Encounter Chapel. The floor of this chapel is a historic site, the original 1st-century market place of the Magdala port. Fishermen of the Sea of Galilee came here to sell their fish. It would have been a very familiar place to Jesus and some of his disciples who were fishermen. The painting is a close up depiction of the haemorrhaging woman touching Jesus’ cloak. At the point of contact, a small sparking light is shown which sits in the very middle of the painting and of the altar. The woman whose hand we see was looking for healing, and found it when she touched the hem of Jesus' cloak.
The chapel and the painting are celebrating Jesus’ encounter with all of us. If we reach out to him, he is there for us every step of the way. Jesus healed the woman because her initiative in reaching out and touching the hem of his garment was a supreme act of faith in his eyes. That is exactly why this painting works so well: all we see is the detail of her touching the fringe of his cloak… no faces, no architectural setting, nothing to distract us from this supreme act of faith we are witnessing up close.
As a haemorrhaging woman, she would have been set apart from society, probably an outcast at the time. Anyone or anything that she touched would have been considered unclean. Jesus however did not see her as unclean. On the contrary, her heart revealed the purest of intentions.
Share this Gospel Reading
Did you like this Gospel reading and art reflection?
Join in the discussion about this artwork & Gospel reading
Readings related to Matthew 9:18-26
Join our community
In addition to receiving our Daily Gospel Reading and Art Reflection, signing up for a free membership allows you to: