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Hosea 2:16, 17c-18, 21-22; Matthew 9:18-26

I find that the woman suffering hemorrhages for all those years often gets overlooked in this or that reflection, so here’s an attempt at offering one.
What might “hemorrhage” mean in our day and time, more than the medical diagnosis? What human experiences might it refer to?

It stands for the sapping of one’s energy. It points to the weariness that comes from “pouring oneself out” for others – the “give, give, give” cycle in a person’s life (compassion fatigue). It calls to mind the kind of chronic depression or sadness that wears away joy in life. I find that it describes the kind of gloom I feel as we head into this national election season.
 
[Her faith saved her. The Greek word means both “to save” and “to heal.” So, there’s a play on words here. Thus, another adequate reading would be: Her faith healed her and from that hour she was saved. Seems to me, anyway.]
 
FYI: I’m at that point in life that I do not talk much about Jesus healing folks any more. I don’t want to promise too much in the way that some nationally recognized TV evangelists promise. “God will make it all better!” I don’t buy that absolutely.
 
What I do buy is that things like a hemorrhaging spirit arise in our times for good reasons, which need to be diagnosed. Some really do have medical answers and should be addressed in those terms.
 
Here’s the other kind: I wonder whether the spirits of so many folks in the U.S. and in the American Catholic church aren’t hemorrhaging due to the constant carping and bickering between parties. It’s wearing!
 
I do not recommend that we all cave in and form mutual support groups. Nor do I propose simply continuing the battles until some one “wins.” Neither will solve the very real issues at hand. Rather, I wonder whether the diagnostic work of the discernment of spirits might be called for. Why are so many good people hemorrhaging today? Fear that surfaces as anger…
 
It seems to me that a resolute choice for two things are in order: 1) To seek the courage to face and embrace disappointments and the fear of “losing ground” without bolting; 2) To ask for and welcome the courage to opt for the kind of charity that is willing to die rather than persecute the Other.
 
But who wants to pray like that, eh? What if we came to Jesus Christ in prayer either as or in the company with the woman with the hemorrhage? What if we said… “If I but touch the hem of his garment…?” What if our faith saved/healed us?

By Roc O'Connor

 

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