Woman Healed of Bleeding, Mark 5:21-43
(these are my thoughts on the reflections from the Lenten devotional booklet, Meeting Jesus)
Desperate times call for desperate measures. According to the internet (the source of all great wisdom these days), this expression originated with the ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates. In his work Amorphisms, Hippocrates wrote that, “For extreme diseases, extreme methods of cure.” That is exactly what happens in this passage. This woman has an extreme disease and she is going for an extreme method of cure – purposely touching a man, who is not a relative, in public. She is desperate and so she is doing the unthinkable.
What if we turned this expression around, what if we did the unthinkable for those that are desperate? What if we thought of ourselves as being the extreme cure, not as the ones needing it? What would we do for issues like homelessness, pollution, hunger, or even sex trafficking? Would we carry protein bars and water in the car to hand out to the hungry on the street corner? Maybe offer the homeless a blanket or a backpack to keep them warm and help carry their few possessions? Would we stand up for those being bullied and do it with kindness and respect, instead of judging them or feeling righteous. Talk about extremes!
The woman in this passage took action that would have been extreme under normal circumstances but because of her exasperated condition, these actions were not only appropriate, but even required if she was going to be healed. She needed to touch the Messiah. People today are no different.
A 16th century nun, Teresa of Avila wrote:
Christ has no body but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body.
If we truly are the body of Christ in this world, then we are the extreme cure needed for extreme illnesses. Let’s all start by practicing a little extreme medicine to those we meet on our journey to the cross with Christ.