Pilgrimage: a journey, especially a long one, made to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion
In August 2000, I had the opportunity to join an organization and take part in World Youth Day held in Rome. This was my first pilgrimage as a Catholic. I had just been received into the Church that previous Easter where I was baptized, confirmed and had my first communion. Everyone was talking about seeing John Paul II, and their excitement just passed over me. Honestly, I did not get what the big deal about Blessed John Paul II. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until after his death that I finally did begin to appreciate the breadth of this man’s amazing role in the Catholic Church.
But before we journeyed to Rome, we spent a week in Turin attending a conference. The Shroud of Jesus is in Turin, hence the name, the Shroud of Turin. Like everything else about the Catholic faith, I had no idea what the Shroud of Turin was, and why everyone was making a big deal out it. For two hours, we walked through the beautiful city of Turin with the other attendees at the conference to where the Shroud awaited us.
Before heading into the Church, we watched a film that spoke about (The Shroud) its importance, and claim to the truth of Jesus’ very existence. I was blown away by the presentation of the this movie and all that they simply knew by this piece of cloth that had been used to wrap Jesus’ body thousands of years ago. Immediately, I knew then, why I had traveled so far from home, for me this was the reason why I had left my comfort zone.
After bleeding for twelve years, this woman had enough; she was doing something about it. So when she heard about [or] saw Jesus coming into her village with his disciples, something moved in her spirit encouraging her she had nothing to lose.
This is a woman who was on a pilgrimage as well, but it was one of the heart, a journey of the heart that led her to right to Jesus. Her passage would take her 12 years to find her starting point, but she would be justified in ways she could or would never imagine. Jesus is the beginning and the ending of every journey we take, whether we are consciously aware of it.
Her faith initiated her to touch the hem of Jesus’ cloak. And wow! What humble faith the women had despite the suffering she endured. This woman lived a harsh life because her bleeding made her unclean in that period of time. She lived an existence that meant forced isolation and loneliness in a way I don’t think many of us will ever comprehend. It’s hard to maintain such a simple faith as this woman displayed. Jesus took on her enormous burden, and all she did was touch the fringe of this cloak.
This woman wasn’t looking for an audience, she just wanted some of that miraculous power that Jesus possessed. Jesus turned around and when he saw her said, “Daughter be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.”