Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped.Luke:8:43-44
Here the flow of blood symbolizes the continuous flow of sin. The physicians symbolize the healers of the world. It calls to mind their little so-called abilities to deliver us from the ailments that afflict us. The blood also symbolizes the constant restlessness of the heart until it reaches out, touches the garment of Christ and takes its rest in Him. This is what the woman does later in the Gospel passage. She reaches out and touches the garment of Christ full of an expectant faith that she will be healed.
All of us are afflicted by one ailment or another that is constant but we always choose the world first to help us with them. In his treatise on the priesthood, St.John Chrysostom describes the reason why one priest is chosen over the other. He explains that one is chosen because he’s loads of money and won’t be a burden on Church revenues. Another is chosen because he flatters the Bishop and is “liked” by him. Then he describes how of all the men they choose for the job, the one actually qualified for the vocation is often overlooked.
We do the same with Jesus. When we are sick, we tend to walk around every doctor of the world while Jesus, the ultimate doctor of the soul, is often overlooked. He is the only one qualified for the job of restoring us to our true selves but we never seek to consider Him at all. When Jesus says a prophet is without honor in his own land he isn’t referring only to a physical place. Why? Because the land he resides in is our hearts. Jesus is there and yet He does not hang around for long because we reject Him and for what? Yoga, Buddhism, Hinduism, Atheism, Marxism and ever other “ism” tickles our fancy.
Instead of looking to Christ we look to crystals, tarot cards, hypnotists, Reiki healers and so-called “faith healers” who charge money for the pleasure. The woman in the Gospel demonstrates that it is not until we get sick of the world will we finally approach Jesus. Sometimes you’ve got to be like the prodigal son. You must go around gorging yourself upon the sinful husks (philosophies and false gods) of this world before you finally wake up and realize it does not satisfy your hunger or need for Christ.
Like the spiritual prodigal sons we are, Jesus lets us take the our baptismal inheritance and do with it as we wish. We are free to accept or reject our original faith and squander it by adopting the philosophies of the empty physicians of this world. However, it won’t be long until we realize the error and return to our senses.
This is what happened the woman in the Gospel. After trying out every physician none of them could offer her a cure. This is not to say actual doctors of the body are bad for Christ gave us the Doctor. No, but somethings can only be healed by the Lord and this story is more or less symbolizing our need to go to Christ first. If we approach Him with an expectant faith then our prayers will be answered.
Faith is more than simply a belief and trust in God. Faith is an expectancy that He will do what we ask of Him should it be for the benefit of our souls. I like to call it an “expectant faith” where we anticipate the request being answered.
All of us have an ailment that can only be cured by the Lord. Sometimes that ailment is physical in nature such as cancer. At other times it’s something much greater which are the sinful passions of the soul that afflict us. Take a look at the Orthodox fathers on Holy Mount Athos. A recent documentary discovered that there’s remarkably little cancer on the mountain and everyone is in great shape for their age. Many monks live to a ripe old age.
Why do you think this is? Their diet? Yes, but most especially their diet of prayer and virtue. Sin has an awful effect upon the body a sinful soul inhabits. . . awful. Although there are many saints who died while coping with horrible illnesses, that is only because God permitted it for a higher cause known only to Him. But the majority of monks who espouse the virtues do not only enjoy a healthy spirit but body also. The reason for this is because some sufferings come from the hand of the Lord while others from the scourge of sin and sinful vices.
The woman reached out and touched the garment of Christ to get rid of her flow of blood. We only need do the same for our flow of sinful passions and we will be healed. Jesus is our true Doctor. Although He gave us honorable physicians to help us in our grievous afflictions, lets not over look Him and leave Him to last. Most especially let us not indulge in the fake physicians of the world who claim to help us spiritually. Did Buddha or Mohammed rise from the dead for you? No, they are still in the grave while Christ. . . He is RISEN!!!
Reach out and touch the glorified garment of Christ and be at peace.