Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, the centerpiece of our Gospel today is the story of the hemorrhaging woman. To get at the power of the Gospel, we have to reacquaint ourselves with the Jewish attitudes regarding the clean and the unclean. In the book of Leviticus we find carefully laid out prescriptions dealing with animals, plants, foods, and situations that are unclean. These prescriptions were meant to identify the Jewish people as a people. But they had a rather severe downside, since they placed certain people in extremely difficult situations.
Having a flow of blood for twelve years meant that for that entire period the woman in our Gospel was a virtual pariah. Anyone with whom she came in contact would be considered unclean. She couldn’t participate in the ordinary life of her society.
She touches Jesus and should have rendered him unclean. But so great is her faith, that her touch, instead, renders her clean. Jesus effectively restores her to full participation in her community.
The most important outcome is this: Jesus implicitly puts an end to the ritual code of Leviticus. The identity of the new Israel, the Church, would not be through ritual behaviors but through imitation of him.