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Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Tomorrow’s Gospel describes a woman who has been afflicted for many years with hemorrhages. She knew that if she could only touch the tassel of his cloak she would be healed. Jesus was not only sensitive to her need for healing but gave her a chance to proclaim this great good to everyone around them.

This is a meditation on this Gospel from one of my sisters:

“Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him . . .”

Humans react instinctively in certain situations. Some things are hard-wired into us. If you are walking through uncut grass and notice something long and skinny rustling at your feet, chances are you’ll jump back five feet before you realize that it was only a stick and not a snake. Survival mode takes over before we even have a chance to form a rational thought or make a careful analysis.

I like to think of this cure of the woman with the hemorrhage as a moment when Jesus’ human nature kicks in, and he acts before he has time to think about it. Power goes out of him first, and a split second later he is aware of it. Instinctively he heals this woman.

Jesus is God, and his impulsive desire for the wholeness and integrity of this woman takes on a dimension that we mere mortals cannot attain. He can heal by willing it to be so. We cannot. But all the same, I wonder whether this reaction of Jesus gives us a glimpse of how our human nature is meant to be sensitive to the needs of others. Clearly Jesus’ gut-level reactions are not turned in upon his health and well-being only—they are opened up to embrace the other. Is it not a result of original sin that we see the other as a potential threat . . . that we can talk about looking out for number one at the expense of others?

Virtue is defined as the habit of doing good. It means that one’s desires are so in balance that choosing what is right, good, and uplifting comes naturally to a person. That is a picture of virtue at an instinctual level, one that I want to aspire to within the limits of my human nature.

If you have enjoyed this meditation, you’ll find meditations on all the Gospels of  Ordinary Time in: Ordinary Grace Weeks 1-17.

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