On this third Sunday of lent we hear about the healing of two women. While on his way to heal the daughter of the synagogue official, Jairus, Jesus stops and heals the haemorrhaging woman.
Jacob of Serugh in his homily on the Gospel expands on the narrative to explain the meaning of the Gospel. He explains that the women has confided in her women friends, spent all her money on doctors and is in despair. Jacob narrates her addressing her illness, chiding it for not going away. She hears reports of Jesus’ healing miracle, which is for free. She is determined to reach him. However, she is in a state of ritual uncleanness, and will not be able to get to Jesus (see Leviticus 150).
Addressing herself, she says: ”If my illness has not kept the law of nature and gone away, I for my part will not go along with the Law of Moses which holds me to be unclean. Here is someone who cleanses the unclean, so I will disclose my state to the Lord of Moses in an unobtrusive way and steal up to touch the edge of his garment”.
She presses forward, hiding her face and prays in secret. Christ hears her prayer and slows down so that she can catch him. When she is close he discretely holds out the end of his garment for her to touch. The flow of blood disappears and she is healed.
Jacob focuses on the significance of Jesus’ question ”Who touched me”. Of course Jesus knew who touched him. The question forces the woman out and allows Christ to publicly acknowledge that it is the woman’s faith that has led to her healing
Jacob closes the homily by comparing the history of the woman to that of humanity. Like her flow of blood which refused to heal despite the efforts of many doctors, humanity persisted in sin, refusing to listen to the succession of prophets. Jesus has brought about atonement for the world.
Jairus also trusted in the Lord and his dead daughter was bought to life. This is symbolic of the fact that Christ came to heal the living and the dead.
We also must have faith and put our trust in the Lord. We should ask ourselves. What is in me that needs healing? What it is that has been draining me of energy? How my condition has made me feel unclean, isolated, and alone?
Christ did not only heal these women, he left us all the gift of healing and we can find it each Sunday at Mass in the Eucharist. We need to approach the Eucharist in faith and we too can experience healing. The Physician has left his medicine for all to take and the only thing required in return is faith. So this Sunday, check into your local hospital, your Maronite Parish and like the haemorrhaging woman, you can find peace.
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