Miracles on the Sly

June 27, 2021; Mark 5:21-43; 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The miracle in today’s gospel is unique in the New Testament. The woman with a hemorrhage who approaches Jesus is seeking a healing on the sly. Usually in the gospels when people want Jesus to heal them, they come forward, they tell him their need, and he cures them. But the woman in today’s gospel is attempting a shortcut. Convinced that no one will notice her in the push and shove of the crowd around Jesus, she tries to avoid any conversation with him. She says to herself, “All I want is to touch the hem of his garment, get my miracle, and go.”

Jesus will not allow her to do this. He stops, asks “Who touched me?” Then, the woman comes forward and does what she should have done before. She tells him the whole truth. Jesus demands this of her because he knows that telling the truth is part of the healing. Yes, it is true that when she touched his clothes the hemorrhaging stopped. But the bleeding could always return again. It is only when she tells him her story that he says to her, “Go now in peace and be cured of your affliction.” Now the woman’s healing is permanent.

What this gospel tells us is that, if we want to be healed, we must speak the whole truth. If we want to be free, we must tell Jesus our story. You and I all need healing of one kind or another, but all too often we attempt a healing on the sly. Instead of coming before the Lord and saying, “This is who I am. This is what I need,” we look for a shortcut, a way to grab our miracle and run.

If we are battling a serious disease or anticipating a major surgery, we need to come before the Lord and say, “This is who I am. This is why I am afraid. This is how I worry about my family.” The surgery can be successful, but unless we tell Jesus the whole truth, our healing will not be complete. We might notice problems in our marriage, the bonds that held us together beginning to fray. It does us no good to push on, imagining that matters will be resolved on their own. We need to come before the Lord and say, “This is where I feel I am responsible. This is why I am disappointed in my spouse. Now is the time that I need your direction.” Marriages will only heal when we speak the truth. Maybe you are jealous of another person who seems to receive all the breaks and recognition. It is not helpful to deny your feelings, to say a prayer and move on. It is important to come before the Lord and say, “This jealousy is devouring me, and it will not let go.” Only then can Jesus show us the way to peace.

The woman in today’s gospel reminds us that there are no shortcuts to miracles. If we want to be healed, we must tell Jesus our story. Then, as we stand humbled and exposed before him, we will feel his love. And that love will set us free.

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