The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke 8:41-56
He will never change! She will never change! My situation will never get better!
I’ve heard these phrases over and over during the last few years. Sometimes it will be a husband complaining about his wife. More often it will be a wife complaining about her husband. Sometimes it is an individual who has gone through very tough times and cannot possibly see a way to escape the current trial they are undergoing.
In today’s gospel reading we are met face to face with not one, but two situations that seem completely impossible from our perspective. We are introduced to a woman who has had a flow of blood for twelve years. It is difficult to imagine such a troublesome sickness. It not only saps your energy and will to live, but it creates a mess and a regular reminder that you are very sick. To add insult to injury imagine that you have spent your entire livelihood trying to find a healer or a doctor who could help cure or even alleviate the problem. No matter where you turned, no matter who you found, no help whatsoever. It is an impossibly difficult situation.
When we think we have seen an impossibly difficult situation, the Lord shows us that things can indeed get even worse. Next we are introduced to the ruler of the local synagogue named Jairus. His daughter was only twelve years old. She was sick and very near to death. As the Lord travelled to pay her a visit, He was met on the road by one of the servants of the house of Jairus. It was too late. The young girl had passed away. What looked like a hopeless situation, truly became a nightmare.
But we thank the Lord that even in the midst of great darkness. Even in the midst of what seems impossible to men, we find that the Lord brings hope. Whether it is the sick woman or the death of a child, the Lord shows that what is unfathomable, what is impossible to men, becomes a true possibility with God. This is an inherent point in our theology, our understanding of the identity of God. God IS life! God IS healing! The Lord tells us that He is the resurrection and the life, and He continually shows us through His miraculous works and ultimately through His own defeat of death.
What is the point of all this? The point is that if God can heal decade long illnesses; if God can reverse death itself, then why do we put limits on what is possible in our own difficulties? Does God love us any less than He loved the sick woman or the young girl? No. In fact we are part of the adopted family of God through our baptisms. When we say that things will never get better, when we say that people will never change, we are saying one of two things. Either we believe that God is powerless or we believe that God is not part of the solution.
For Christians nothing is impossible because God is always part of our lives. Not simply with words, because words are sometimes empty. God is part of our lives, He is tangible through the life of the Church. Issues that are nearly impossible to deal with or to imagine, are regularly brought before the feet of Christ our Lord, here in the Church. They are brought to Him and He regularly brings swift healing.
More than offering simple physical healing, we know that Christ is the physician of our souls. It might be impossible for me to feel like I can ever be anything but a miserable sinner. It may be impossible for me to feel like I can overcome my awful habits or even addictive behavior. When someone has struggled with these spiritual illnesses for a long time, they carry shame like the bleeding woman. No matter what they do, they can’t seem to get better. Keep pushing through the crowd. Push through the distractions. Push through all the noise of life. Fight to reach out and grab hold of Jesus Christ and you will hear these same powerful words, “Daughter (or Son), your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
We aren’t talking about a one-time push. We are talking about daily struggle. With daily struggle to know Jesus Christ we are sure to reach Him and to know His powerful touch on our lives. We are sure to find that even the seemingly hopeless situations are now filled with hope and new promise. With daily struggle we are sure to hear these wonderful words when we need them most “Your faith has made you well; go in peace!” And glory be to God forever AMEN.