In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Today’s Gospel concerns two miracles, one the healing of an illness and the other the overcoming of death. These two miracles are closely linked, for both illness and death have the same origin, the same cause, they are both the result of sin, both entered the world as a result of the sin of Adam. As the Apostle Paul says in his letter to the Orthodox Christians in Rome, ‘the wages of sin are death’.
Firstly, let us consider the healing of the woman with the issue of blood. We should note that this issue of blood was not that monthly issue of blood suffered by all women, but something else. It had lasted for twelve years. On this subject, it is worth making clear that the monthly issue of blood endured by all women is not of course the result of personal sin, but a result of the general sin of Eve. It is written in the Book of Genesis that women will suffer this as a result of the Fall – ‘in pain thou wilt give birth’. It is for this reason that all devout Orthodox women abstain from communion at that time in the month, not because they are personally responsible, but because they know that they are subject to the ancestral sin of Eve. In the same way men are forced into having to work for a living, into ‘toiling by the sweat of their brow’, as it is written in the Book of Genesis. Both men and women suffer from the Fall, but in different ways.
The issue of blood suffered by this woman was then an illness and it was healed by her touching the fringe of the clothes of Our Saviour, Who, as it is written, felt ‘the power go out of Him’. In these words we have a description of the nature of all illness. If it takes the power of Christ to heal an illness, then it is clear that all illness is in fact something negative, a deficiency, the absence of the power of Christ. Illness is not something that is added, it is rather the sign of a lack, of the unnatural and abnormal absence of the grace of God. As we are told in the Gospel when the woman was healed, she was ‘made whole’. In other words an ill person – and we are all in some way ill – suffers from a lack, we are not whole, for we lack the fullness of the power of Christ within us.
How and why was the woman in the Gospel ‘made whole?’ This question is easy to answer, for Christ Himself says to her that:’ Thy faith has made thee whole’. In other words, if any of us is to be made whole, to be healed, we must first have faith. If we do not have faith, then we lack something, we are without something, we are faithless or godless. But if we have faith, then healing can be inspired in us by the power of God.
So powerful is this combination of faith and the power of God that it can even overcome death. We see this very clearly in the second miracle, the resurrection of Jairus’ daughter. Here was this young girl, twelve years old, dying. We can scarcely imagine the frantic state of mind of her father Jairus, and yet he had faith, for he was seeking out Christ, the Only One Who could heal his daughter. As a result of Jairus’ faith and the power of Christ, his daughter was not only healed, but healed from death, that is, actually raised for the dead before the eyes of those who mocked Christ. It is written in the Gospel that, ‘her spirit returned to her’. Here is also proof of the existence of the soul. We see that without our souls, our spirits, we are dead.
Today then Christ says to us all: ‘Have faith and I will give you all the power that you need to do My will’. Let us heed His words.