13 Sunday Ordinary Time Year B

The 3rd Century theologian and biblical scholar Origen insightfully comments that it is this woman who has the divine touch: He writes,

The outer human being has the sensible faculty of touch, and the inner human being also has touch, that touch with which the woman with a haemorrhage touched the hem of Jesus’ garment (cf. Mark 5.25-34 parr). She touched it, as He testified who said: Who touched me? (Mark 5.30). Yet just before, Peter said to Him: The multitudes are pressing upon you and you ask, ‘Who touched me?’ (Luke 9.45 parr). Peter thinks that those touching are touching in a bodily, not spiritual manner. Thus, those pressing in on Jesus were not touching Him, for they were not touching Him in faith. Only the woman, having a certain divine touch, touched Jesus and by this was healed. And because she touched Him with a divine touch, this caused power to go forth from Jesus in response to her holy touch. Hence, He says: Someone touched me: for I perceive that power has gone forth from me (Luke 8.46). It is about this healing touch that John says: Which we have touched with our hands concerning the word of life (1 John 1.1).

(Treaty on the Passover, p. 72)

I find this line from Origen thought-provoking, “those pressing in on Jesus were not touching Him, for they were not touching Him in faith”.

My reading of it is that presence ‘with’ does not mean the same as present ‘to’.

For example, on the occasion I would attend an important rugby fixture at the iconic Athletic Park in Wellington all those attending would jostle their way through a set of turnstiles, each hurrying to their favourite position on the bank. Each person was present ‘with’ many others; however, I would say, few were present ‘to’ each other. Being with, cannot assume, being part of.

And then of course the equally, if not more, provoking paragraph from Origen,

“Only the woman, having a certain divine touch, touched Jesus and by this was healed. And because she touched Him with a divine touch, this caused power to go forth from Jesus in response to her holy touch.”

My thoughts are moving in a million different directions with this paragraph!

Summing them up they seem to be about: is it the call to allow todays haemorrhaging women to touch the Body of Christ (the Church) with their divine touch and so heal the body.

Are we as the Body of Christ, the Church being called to allow the women of our Church to touch us and heal us before all their lifeblood has been lost?

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