Daily Archives: July 2, 2006

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We go to eight-thirty Mass, trying to get a jump on the day’s work. We spot Monsignor on the steps on the way in, and Dawn says that she thought he was already on vacation. Not yet, apparently. We’ve arrived early, too, since Monsignor ends up leading the Mass. No choir, though; they must be gone for the summer. But Jennifer Goltz, the Director of Music, is still our cantor.

There’s an interesting connection to me between the first reading and the Gospel. The first reading is from Wisdom, where it says “the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is not a destructive drug among them.” And in the Gospel, from St. Mark, the woman afflicted with hemorrhages has “suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors.” Odd to me that both mention medicine in some capacity, In the Old Testament it’s about medicine as medication, derived from nature, whereas in the New Testament it’s about medicine as a practice, as derived from and practiced by men, by doctors. (And doctors who actually don’t do any good anyway.)

Also interesting is that in the Gospel, the two stories of healing are intertwined. These same stories are recounted, again intertwined, in both St. Matthew and St. Luke’s Gospels as well. And in both cases, the afflicted woman and the dead girl, the number of twelve years comes up, as in the number of years the woman has been afflicted as well as the age of the little girl. There’s no mention, and indeed no likely reason, why these years are equal, but they are.

Monsignor in his homily goes a little further when he says that the hemorrhaging makes the woman unclean, which to me sounds like it’s some sort of menstrual bleeding. Looking at Leviticus, in Chapter 15, it’s quite explicit: when a woman has her menstrual flow, she is considered unclean for seven days, and if her flow continues outside of her normal period, she is likewise considered unclean. So that too should be taken in the context, as Jesus the observant Jew in this case isn’t observant, or, rather, like in so many other cases, ministers to someone in need rather than blindly observe the Mosaic Law.

Also fascinating is the moment when the woman touches Jesus’ cloak and is cured, and Jesus feels … something. As the Gospel describes it, he is “aware at once that power had gone out from him.” It’s an interesting thing, in that Jesus is generally God and man, both human and divine. But at this moment he is more man than God, knowing that something has happened, but not quite sure what that something is. He has to stop and ask.