I was attending a book reading in ClubHouse on a book Let Us Dream by Pope Francis. For this article, I just take one incident from this book. During 1986, Francis was doing his doctorate in Germany. The people of Germany and Argentina are known for their passion for football. Germany played Argentina in the world cup final of 1986. Argentina won the worldcup. When Argentinians experienced an immense joy in the triumph of their team, Francis couldn’t feel it in the midst of Germans who were terribly shattered. The opposite would have been the sentiment of a German living in Argentina at the same time. There is an interesting aspect here. An experience of a strange solitude. I am in a “strange solitude” when the entire people around me are experiencing sentiments exactly opposite of me.
In today’s gospel (Mark 5, 24–34), we see a similar story. Jesus was going to the family of Jairus to heal his daughter. He was surrounded by a crowd. A woman who was suffering from haemmorhage for 12 years came in and touched his cloak. We shouldn’t forget the courage (or definitely she was a rebel and a prophet too) of this woman as she was normally considered impure in that society. Beyond the courage, she too had a deep faith too. And she was healed. And realising that the power had gone from him, Jesus asks the question, “‘Who touched my clothes?” The entire crowd was surprised at this question, but the woman came forward and explained what he did. Now this is a very important moment. She had an experience of healing (a great sense of joy); but she was in the midst of questions after the question of Jesus. Probably the look of the crowd might not have been so encouraging. But Jesus appreciates the faith of this woman. And Jesus shares her moment of joy. She could have experienced a strange solitude; but Jesus’ involvement gives joy back to her.
An invitation to experience joy with the joyful other… and to cry with the crying other…That we can reduce the number of moments of “strange solitude”, but to create more moments of “connection and touch” from those moments of “strange solitude”.
Big cities have skyscrapers and slums in the cities. There are the super-rich and extreme poor. May be, some experience that “strange solitude”. And those experiences can be transformative for some; these transformations are important for our society; for creating fraternities.