“Your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

Luke 8:48

Wednesday, 01 July 2020

Luke 8:43-48

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?

Loving Father,
Give me the faith that heals my spirit and soothes my soul. Help me to be inclusive and loving and caring to those around me. I pray for all the sick, especially those who have no access to healthcare, or who have been manipulated so as not to be able to receive the care they deserve. Give them the love and care that they need, especially the faith in you so that they might never despair. We ask this through Christ, our Lord,

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ entered the Society of Jesus in 2005 and underwent the usual course of studies in his formation, which took him to such varied places as Canada, France, Ireland, Kenya, Spain, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Whilst working at the Institute, Matthew managed the background technical aspects of much of the Institute's work and was involved in the Spirituality work, completing the Advanced Spiritual Directors Training Course and the Spiritual Exercises Training run by the Institute. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International and was also a part-time lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St Augustine College of South Africa. He is currently the Director of Communications for the Jesuits in Southern Africa, based in Lusaka, Zambia.

m.charlesworth@jesuitinstitute.org.za @mcharlesworth
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