Do you ever feel like the bucket of your life has a hole in it that leaks faster than you can fill it? No matter what you do, how hard you work, where you go, what you try, you just can’t fill it up. Work, play, friends, and family all leave you feeling empty, restless, and searching. You can’t seem to get enough. The outflow is greater than the inflow. You are left drained of life: tired and weak, frustrated and hopeless, angry and resentful, sorrowful and grieving, fearful that you will never have the life you want. If you know what that is like, perhaps you can relate to the hemorrhaging woman in today’s gospel (Mark 5:21-43).
We don’t know her name. We don’t know where she came from. But what we do know is that she is ill, desperate, and in need. She has been bleeding for 12 years. That’s 4,380 days! In all that time no one has been able to help her. She’s spent all her time, money, energy – and she’s only gotten worse.
But the woman’s condition is more than physical. She’s losing more than just blood. She’s losing her life, its warmth, its vitality, and its fruitfulness. That is a spiritual matter. Life and death always are.
At one level this is a story of an individual woman. At another level it is the human story. It’s our story. Drained of life, we go through the motions. We’re alive but we’re not really living. We feel disconnected, isolated, and alone.
Often we convince ourselves that once “this or that” happens, everything will be better. As soon as he changes, as soon as she does what I want, as soon as the economy gets better, as soon as I get a new job, as soon as I have enough money, as soon as I get through this project, as soon as I have more time, as soon as …. Let’s face it, we all have our “as soon as” excuses.
I imagine that the bleeding woman spent many days thinking, “As soon as.…” But today is different. Something in her has changed. She has heard about Jesus. We don’t know what she heard about Jesus but it was enough to make her believe that she was more than a bleeding woman. She would no longer wait on others to fix her life. Today she would literally take matters into her own hands.
She says, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” She knows that Jesus offers a life that is “unleakable,” a life that can never be drained from her. She touched his cloak; and in that moment she was transfused with and by the power of God. A connection was made. A relationship was established. Life no longer leaked out of her but flowed into her.
This reminds me of a song from Catholic singer and songwriter Sarah Hart. Here is the chorus:
You are faithful, You are savior, You are more than enough.
You are healer, You are holy, You are more than enough.
That is the “unleakable” life Jesus offers each of us. We no longer have to live “drained” of life. We too can be filled with Jesus and have more than enough. All we have to do is touch his clothes and we will be healed.
Every moment before us provides the opportunity to touch. But we have to be open to his healing power. We need to make a connection with Jesus. This means we must change the way we live our lives. We can no longer live with the same old “as soon as” excuses. We’ve got to be active, tangible, and alive in our faith. But how do we do that? We begin by looking at the clothes Jesus wears.
Sometime Jesus wraps himself in silence, solitude, and prayer. Sometimes it’s mercy and forgiveness. Sometimes it’s thanksgiving and gratitude. Sometimes it’s compassion and generosity. But it’s always a self-giving love. These attributes and characteristics of his life are the clothes he wears and the clothes we are to touch.
Whenever we are living drained of life, whenever we’ve sprung a leak, let us find the strength to touch the clothes of Christ. Let them transfuse us with his life, his healing power, and his love. Let us be filled with Jesus, so that our lives will leak no more.