“Your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
Wednesday, 01 July 2020
We know that the poorest among us suffer the most in terms of illness and access to healthcare. We may be tempted to think that this is a new phenomenon, but sadly, it was the same in Jesus’ day.
In the eighth chapter of Luke’s Gospel, we’re shown a Jesus who has compassion for a woman who has become impoverished because of her illness. She spent all she had on doctors who could not heal her (cf. Luke 8:43). Her disease had not only robbed her of her livelihood but also ruined her reputation. This was because of her haemorrhage, which made her impure in the sight of her community.
Jesus is passing by and we’re told that out of desperation she touches Jesus’ cloak, and is healed. After she’s healed, Jesus stops what he was doing and draws attention to her, giving her the opportunity to share her miraculous healing with the crowd (Luke 8:47).
Jesus went beyond healing her of her physical afflictions; he gave this poor woman a platform to restore her reputation, too. Her material poverty was paired with emotional and spiritual poverty from being labelled unclean for so long. Jesus healed her of that as well.
Jesus calls the woman, isolated because of her sickness and her perceived impurity, ‘daughter’ and announces that her faith has saved and healed her.
So often we are only concerned with helping the poor through acts of charity, or through material aid. But Jesus’ concern for the poor goes beyond just their physical needs. We’re called to see Christ in them. To recognize their dignity and to help them become aware of their dignity too.
Is our faith strong enough to help others be healed too, so as to welcome those who are outcast?