When I consider Jesus’ miracles, a single word comes to mind: resolve. Most of the people who received miracles in their lives decided to leave their homes and come to Jesus. They did not remain stagnant in their records, diagnoses, or cultural impositions but faced the challenges head on.
The woman in today’s scripture knows that simply being female prevents her from approaching Jesus. But she does not care. She has reached the end of her resources—financial, mental, spiritual. The medical professionals have exhausted their efforts at a cure. People who suffered from illness found themselves marginalized because people believed them to be ill as a result of sin. The woman’s need for acceptance by her community is as compelling as her illness and greater than her fear. The healing that she and others sought involves not only physical wellness but the desire to experience acceptance by and integration into society. So she leaves her house to seek out the one who can heal her pain and restore her life.
Jesus’ public declaration, “Your faith has saved you,” expresses the faith of the woman, as well as the result of her faith. The Greek translation of the expression “saved you” is the same as “healed you,” which denotes a holistic healing: physical and spiritual. In a society for which disease is a manifestation of sin, Jesus publicly forgives the woman’s sins.
Father of love, your presence transforms our lives, and we begin to see differently. Just as this woman’s healing brought new meaning to her life, may we focus more on you than on our problems, more on our possibilities than the difficulties of life along the way. So we pray and believe. Amen.
David is remembered in scripture as a mighty king but also as a great poet. Many of the Psalms are ascribed to him. In Second Samuel we find a poem, a song of lamentation over Saul and Jonathan. Saul was violently jealous of David, yet David still honored Saul as God’s anointed king. Jonathan was David’s best friend, and David bemoans Israel’s loss of these two leaders. The author of Psalm 130, although probably not David, appeals to God in David-like fashion. The Gospel reading takes us in a different direction, showing the power of a woman’s faith. In Second Corinthians, Paul deals with practical matters. The Corinthians had promised to send financial help to the believers in Jerusalem. Now that pledge needs to become a reality.
• Read 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27. When have you acknowledged, upon his or her death, the value of a person you deemed an enemy?
• Read Psalm 130. When have you cried out to God from the depths of your despair? What was God’s response?
• Read 2 Corinthians 8:7-15. When have you lost enthusiasm for a project that had originally ignited your interest and best efforts? How did you rekindle that interest?
• Read Mark 5:21-43. What has been your experience with God’s plans and timetable?
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