Fr. Dale Matson
Matthew 9:20–22 (Also Mark 5:25–34, Luke 8:43–48)
20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: 21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
In 2012 I had a medical procedure called a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). It is a common surgery for older men to help them urinate. Post-surgical bleeding is expected but my bleeding went on for weeks. I eventually needed an infusion of two units of packed red blood cells because of anemia. Since that time, I have also had two G.I. bleeds which also led to additional bouts with anemia.
Also, during the period from 2012 to present, I have had periodic episodes of blood in my urine caused by regrowth of prostate tissue. Most of the time it has been related to heavy exercise. I recently went to the emergency room because of heavy and prolonged bleeding following two day hikes I had done in the Sierra Nevada.
Why do I mention the passage from Matthew? I think of this poor woman who not only had a bleeding problem for twelve years, she had spent all of her money on doctors who made matters worse (Mark). This woman was not only anemic, she was considered unclean by Jewish Law since she was continually menstruating. This means that to come into contact with others would make them unclean. She was essentially a leper, an outcast and probably had no social life or even friends. She could not enter the temple either.
However, she also had a great desire to be well again and was willing to risk a public encounter with Jesus for the possibility of being healed. He was her last resort and the last resort for so many. She was led to approach from behind and only touch the fringe of His garment. In her humility, she was healed by her faith but also the power (virtue) that emanated from Jesus. He was aware that a power had left him and asked who had touched Him.
There is also the fact that Jesus was not made unclean but she was made clean by coming in contact with just the fringe of garment. He also called her “Daughter” which is probably a term of endearment rather than calling her “woman”.
It makes both my issue with blood less significant and her faith worth emulating. Thank You Lord.