Four takes on one text

Image: Woman with Hemorrhage by Louis Glanzman
(Click on image for larger version)

In the combox on my homily for June 28, a reader, Irish Gal, critiques my handling of the gospel (Mark 5:21-43) .

I responded to Irish Gal in the combox but I think that she and others will profit, as I did, from reading a powerful reflection written by Fran over at St. Edward's Blog.

While there, you'll see that Fran links to Missy's thoughts on this scripture over at St. Anne, Pray for Us.

And while you're at it, take a look at the homily from the Deacon's Bench.

IF you take the time to read all four, it would be interesting to read your comments...



  1. I love that image...

    Thanks for the link, I wondered why I suddenly had so many visitors.

    One great thing about blogging like this is that we can all share our thoughts and reflections as we pray together.

    Thanks be to God.

  2. OK, I am back with my comments after having re-read all 3. (I did not re-read my own piece.)

    Let me start with what I did say about the woman's ritual impurity and how remarkable this was at that time. Then I go straight to Missy's post,which goes on to say that Jesus had touched not only a bleeding woman but also a dead person... Both were impure.

    And yet He did just that. That is huge for me, the giant step that Jesus takes out of what would be the normative form and goes farther to heal and to save.

    He did not come to undo the law but to bring it into its richest fullness and healing.

    Your homily touches on this so beautifully and goes so far as to name Rachel and Rebecca. I loved that you did that because I feel that it further enfleshes these two characters that we have come to know.

    Your message that nothing can impede the Lord's desire to be in our lives is so powerful... and exactly what I think is intended in the Gospel.

    As for Deacon Greg's homily, I found myself weeping. He goes straight to the heart of another kind of healing by using the real live stories of Jerri Nielsen and Fr. Tim.

    As I said at his post, Jerri Nielsen is legend in these parts as the Air Natl Guard crew that went to get her flies out of Scotia, about 1.5 miles from where I work.

    Her approach to entering into faith with surrender and peace is powerful.

    Fr. Tim bears witness to the idea you elucidate in the message that nothing can impede God's desire for us. Even after all he had been through, Fr. Tim kept on in his faith.

    My mind is swirling with all these thoughts. Thank you for presenting this dynamic forum in this post.


  3. I took on the challenge and read all four...and it was a pleasure! All touched me, each in a different way. The image that comes to mind is that of the Gospel as a many-faceted gem with each homily reflecting one facet of that gem and each one succeeding in touching me today.

  4. I use the story of the bleeding woman often in my liturgy classes to teach about Jesus' healing as not simply a "cure" but a return to the community.

    The hem of Jesus' garment, some scholars say, was the "tzitzit" or the tassles of his prayer shawl. This "fringe" (as its called in one translation of the pericope) is considered the holiest part of the Jewish ritual garment, because they are reminders of the Law. Those who wear the prayer shawl often kiss these tassles.

    By healing her, Jesus brought her back into the community, since her blood excluded her from it. I think one possible reading of this passage might be that those who are on the "fringes" of society--those whom we might overlook or want to forget--are those whom Jesus sees as most holy. Our last two Popes have said the same in their own encyclicals: Benedict XVI in Deus Caritas Est, and John Paul II in Mane Nobiscum Domine.

    This care for the poor is the criteria by which our Eucharist is judged authentic. It is a care that, in Christ, surpassed even the power of death--Christ who longed so deeply to draw all to himself that not even death would stop him from bringing us back into his presence, into his community, into his body.

  5. Been meaning to stop by and thank you for the the link up. I was moved by Deacon Greg's homily. And Fran, well I just love that woman and her spiritual openness.

    I also like the liberty you took in naming these two women. I've often wished that more women in the Bible had names. As Jesus said of the woman who prophetically anointed Him (Mt 26.13), "I assure you, wherever the good news is proclaimed throughout the world, what she did will be spoken of in memory of her." Too bad all we know is "she" and "her."


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