13th Sunday of the Year (B) 2018

‘There was a woman afflicted with haemorrhages for twelve years.’
Central to this event is Leviticus 15. ‘When a woman is afflicted with a flow of blood …. she shall be unclean, just as during her menstrual period.’
As you can imagine a patriarchal Old Testament was not female friendly.
In the Old Testament being unclean meant that (like lepers) you could have no contact with God or other human beings. You were forbidden the synagogue and its prayers and devotions. Anything or anyone you touched became unclean.
So this woman was not only physically sick but also regarded as spiritually sick and ostracised by everyone. She could not even have the consolation of recourse to her religion and her God.
All this through no fault of her own. She was the victim but punished as the perpetrator.
Imagine her relief and joy not only at her physical cure but at the words of Jesus; ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.’
How many Catholics are experiencing the same exclusion and sense of guilt as this unfortunate woman? How many Catholics feel excluded from their church and their God because of some clergy who think and act like the Pharisees. Pope Francis is trying to apply the mind of Christ to all these moral teachings and practises but is meeting unyielding opposition.
The church is given authority to lead people to God by its teaching and practises. Nobody has the authority to act as a stumbling block for others in their search for God.
Pope Francis is trying to teach us to take responsibility for our own decisions in religious and moral matters. This particularly in marital and sexual problems.
There are plenty of embezzlers, thieves, liars, corrupt officials, drug dealers, human traffickers etc. walking around freely and nobody is telling them that they cannot receive Holy Communion.
But have some marital or sexual problem and the whole weight of ecclesiastical law lands on your head!!!
If you are excluding yourself or have been told to exclude yourself from Holy Communion, think long and hard about how you are treating your God – not as a loving and compassionate parent but as an unforgiving and small-minded overseer.