While Jesus was speaking to them, an official of the synagogue came up to him, bowed before him and said, “My daughter has just died, but come and place your hands on her, and she will live.” Jesus stood up and followed him with his disciples.
Then a woman, who had suffered from a severe bleeding for twelve years, came up from behind and touched the edge of his cloak; for she thought, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned, saw her and said, “Courage, my daughter, your faith has saved you.” And from that moment, the woman was cured.
When Jesus arrived at the official’s house and saw the flute players and the excited crowd, he said, “Get out of here! The girl is not dead. She is only sleeping!” And they laughed at him. But once the crowd had been turned out, Jesus went in and took the girl by the hand, and she stood up. The news of this spread through the whole area.
By a strange (and welcome) coincidence, everything in today’s liturgy is about women: the people of Israel seen as God’s spouse, the bleeding woman with so much faith in Jesus, and the dear little girl raised up by Jesus. But, apart from these female figures, we are also remembering a great woman saint: Elizabeth of Portugal.
Elizabeth was born of high Spanish nobility in 1270; and at 12 years old she married King Denis of Portugal. They had two children, Alfonso, and a daughter Constance. But King Denis was a womanizer of the worst kind and had several illegitimate children. Elizabeth bore her husband’s infidelities with loving patience and even raised his illegitimate children as her own. She devoted a lot of her time and energy to the care of the poor. But perhaps her greatest achievement was to maintain peace between the members of her extended family, especially between her husband and their rebellious son Alfonso. In fact, she died of exhaustion on her way to prevent an all-out war between Alfonso and her nephew, Alfonso XI of Castile.
Dissolving family tensions and preventing potential conflicts is one of the greatest services a wife and mother can render.
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