If someone were to find a cure for alcoholism or nicotine addiction, the media would call it a miracle. What a shame the word miracle has to be associated with man’s tendency toward self-destruction. Diseases that would have never existed without that tendency are now some of our biggest killers. Today the faithful among us spend endless hours praying for cures for diseases humanity caused. This occurred to me after reading this Sunday’s first reading from the Book of Wisdom (Wis 1:13-15; 2:23-24):
“God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. For he fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of the netherworld on earth, for justice is undying.”
Yet thanks to original sin’s effect of focusing our minds on things that cause death, we are both fascinated with it and fearful of it—so much so that we forget that Jesus has given us a second chance via his death. That’s why it’s a shame Christ’s bringing a little girl back to life in Sunday’s gospel reading (Mk 5:21-43) has to be considered a miracle. We were originally designed to live forever.
With that in mind, and considering we made our mortal and sinful nature natural, it seems that the greater miracle in today’s gospel reading is the supernatural faith exhibited by the sick woman who touched Jesus’ cloak so that she might be cured.
“If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured,” she told herself. “Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” … The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. … He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”
Mankind is capable of extreme depravity and extreme enlightenment, so it seems appropriate that God uses extremes to teach us how to overcome the lower end of that spectrum. As Paul explains to the Corinthians in our second reading (2 Cor 8:7, 9, 13-15), though Jesus was rich in every way—the way that mankind was meant to be rich in the first place—he became poor to show us how to climb out of the pit we dug for ourselves and to reclaim our original inheritance—and share it with each other.
“Your abundance at the present time should supply their needs, so that their abundance may also supply your needs, that there may be equality,” Paul writes. “As it is written: Whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less.”
Humanity have never been good at occupying the middle ground; but thanks to Jesus, we know how to reach the higher ground. That’s a place where miracles will no longer be needed to save us from ourselves but for each other—and our Creator.