“There was a woman in the area who had been afflicted with a haemorrhage for a dozen years.” —Mark 5:25

In the Scriptures, the number twelve signifies fullness. There were “twelve tribes of Israel” (Gn 49:28). Jesus chose “twelve apostles” (Mt 10:2) and made them into the new Israel, the Church. The heavenly city has “twelve courses of stones as its foundation, on which were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rv 21:14). The woman clothed with the sun in Revelation 12:1 wears “a crown of twelve stars.” This woman, symbolising Israel, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Church, is fully victorious over the kingdom of darkness (Rv 12:1-17).

However, in next Sunday’s Gospel passage, the number twelve is associated with desperation and dying. The woman in today’s gospel passage suffered twelve years from a haemorrhage (Mk 5:25), the same timeframe that Jairus’ daughter had been alive (Mk 5:42). The haemorrhage made the woman ritually impure, unable to approach communal gatherings such as the meetings held in Jairus’ synagogue (Mk 5:22). After twelve years, the woman was broke and desperate, growing worse (Mk 5:26) and Jairus’ daughter died. Jesus redeemed and fulfilled the twelfth year, bringing both healing and new life.

Is there anything in your life that is dying or worn out? Are you “desperate” to the full? Bring your desperation to Jesus. In Him is “absolute fullness” (Col 1:19). He came “to fulfil” (Mt 5:17), to give you life “to the full” (Jn 10:10). Bring Jesus your emptiness, and let Him fill you.

PRAYER: Jesus, thank You for coming to fill and to fulfil. I give You my emptiness. Fill me with Yourself. Jesus, I trust in You.

PROMISE: “God formed man to be imperishable; the image of His own nature He made him.” —Wis 2:23

PRAISE: Praise You, Lord, for loving the world so much as to become one of us. Alleluia!

(From a reflection by a member of the editorial team of the late Fr Al Lauer’s Presentation Ministries) For the full Readings in English and Maltese and other reflections please go to:

John Portelli

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