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Adjusting What Is Necessary

June 28, 2015 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause

June 28, 2015
Mark 6:1-6
Fr. George Smiga

The woman in today’s gospel wants to be cured by Jesus. She wants him to do what the doctors could not do—make her whole. Although her desire was noble and worthy, she chose a rather peculiar way to attain it. Instead of coming up to Jesus and asking for his help, she crept up behind him through the crowd and touched his cloak. She said to herself, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be cured.” What a wacky idea. Did this woman think that Jesus was some kind of a magical stone that she simply had to rub to attain what she needed? The way she sought her healing was bizarre. God’s healing does not come because we touch something. Now the good news is that Jesus does heal her, even though her way of approaching the healing was misguided. To make sure that she knows this, Jesus says to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.” That is: it was your faith, not your touch, that made you whole.

Now this story of the woman with the hemorrhage is an important story for us, because often in our relationship with Jesus we set conditions that are as wrong-headed as this woman’s was. We imagine that some occurrence, some circumstance, is necessary for us to be happy. Like the woman, we say, “If only this would happen, I would be fine.” If only I could get this job, if only this girl would agree to go out with me on a date, if only the problems in my marriage could be resolved, I would be made whole. If I could get into this college, if my nephew stopped abusing drugs, if the test for cancer comes back negative, then all would be as it should be.

Of course, many times the conditions that we set are attained. We get the job, the girl says, “Yes,” or our marriage is saved. When these things happen, we should be thankful. But when we are unable to attain the things we imagine as necessary, we must remember the woman in today’s gospel. She was healed, not because she did what she thought she had to do, but because God loved her. Likewise, we must remember that God is bigger than the things we think are necessary for our happiness. Even if we are not accepted by the college we desire, even if our nephew is unable to stop using drugs, even if the tests come back positive, God is still able to lead us to life. God has ways of saving us independent of the conditions that we feel are necessary.

The woman in today’s gospel touched Jesus’ cloak and she was healed—not because she touched the cloak, but because God loved her. When we are unable to touch the things that we feel are necessary, when life seems to brush past our fingertips, it is important to believe that God’s love is still there.

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