Sunday, 10 April 2011


Have you ever noticed that some medical procedures are worn like a badge of honor, and others discreetly hushed up? You can get a man to tell you about his triple bypass operation, show you some of the scars and complain long and loud of the hospital food. But there are some medical problems which we consider just a little too delicate to make public. When the prayer requests are passed around, they usually ask us to pray for someone's "condition" - without a word as to what it is.
We do not need to know the specific condition to pray, of course; and there is much to be said for not being nosy. But it reminds us that pain from illness may not be entirely physical, but also emotional. This woman certainly had that pain:
This illness made her ceremonially unclean. She was therefore forbidden to go to the synagogue or Temple to worship God. She was without the comfort that comes from this.
More than that, if anyone touched her, he or she was unclean until evening. So she would be politely—"Nothing personal, you understand" - ostracized.
She was a woman who was not only ill, going broke from it but also alone. Jesus knew this—did you really think he did not know who touched him? He knew! His purpose was more than healing her physical illness:
What she did in secret, he brought into the light—so that all would know that she was healed, and no longer to be ostracized.
He calls her "daughter" - a term of affection, showing that she is welcome in his presence.
He commends her faith, showing that she is approved in the way she comes to God.
The purpose of Christ was to heal her completely, not just physically. Do we accept the purpose of Christ? For those whose illnesses make them less than socially acceptable, do we welcome them into our presence? This is hard. We may think we will not know what to say, or how to act. What do you say to a person who has cerebral palsy, or Parkinson's disease? Can you speak to someone who has AIDS?
Our Lord did. If we are to be true children of our heavenly Father, let us imitate our Lord in this—so that "whosoever will," can come.

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