Like the hemorrhaging woman in yesterday’s Gospel, who "had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors…” (Mark 5:23), St. Josephine Bakhita suffered greatly at the hands of many men. She was kidnapped as a young child at knife-point, taken away from her family and village, never to see them again. She was sold and resold, beaten, whipped, chained, and cut over 100 times in a barbaric tattooing process where salt and flour were rubbed into her wounds to ensure scarring. Is it any wonder that when she learned of Christ and His love for her she reached out to touch Him?
“Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at His feet and, trembling with fear, told Him the whole truth. He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.'” (Mark 5:32-34) Certainly Bakhita told Jesus the whole truth of her life – the abuse, the pain, the heartache. And her faith, though newly received, healed her and freed her from her suffering.
What to say of such faith? While it seems to be beyond all human understanding, isn't that its power? Faith is, after all, beyond our comprehension on so many levels. But it is seeing the belief of saints such as Josephine Bakhita which encourages and strengthens us in our own conviction.
Dear Jesus, we reach out to touch You as well - to tell You the truth of our lives and trust that truth to You, to heal us, to free us. May St. Josephine Bakhita's example inspire us to greater faith, hope and love. Amen.
St. Josephine Bakhita, pray for us!