And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.”Mark 5:34
This verse is the only example of Christ referring to anyone as His “daughter” in the Gospel of Mark. The woman with the issue of blood has become a daughter of the King through her faith. The gravity of this transformation could not be overstated! A woman in Jewish culture of the time was considered ritually unclean due to the blood that flowed from her body. She was isolated from her own people as they too would be considered unclean to come into contact with such a person.
The Gospel story has weighed heavy on my heart. What is it like to live as an outsider? The pain of her condition could not have been greater than the pain of the world’s rejection. Imagine also that her condition likely permitted no marriage or children. All the ordinary comforts of the world, in terms of friendship and family were beyond her grasp. She was alone in the world.
Having some means, she appears to have applied all efforts to correct her condition and having lost even her material comforts of wealth, she approaches Our Lord, well . . . empty.
Few of us are unfamiliar with loneliness and loss. It is often our relationships, which give color and energy to this life, yet also the brokenness of relationships which can bring an incomparable pain. Of all the catalysts that bring patients to my office, broken relationships are the most painful. Be it infidelity or conflict or loss, we are not creatures who do well alone. We mourn the lost friends and missing family members. We dwell on memories of closeness and grieve them over and over.
Into this pain the woman in Mark’s Gospel pushes through and grasps at the one and only relationship that will not fail. It is not her touch that heals her. It is not the garment that accomplishes the act, but her love for Him. She is drawn in and becomes forever His daughter! What is healed is not merely her flow of blood, but her truncated existence, her separation from Life Himself. What she has mourned all these years has been given to her in perfect love, – familial love!
We are son and daughters of the Father and we are loved! How hard this is to hold on to, I know. How can the King love me? This is impossible to imagine especially when those earthly beings, who are supposed to love us, do not. When a parent abuses us, a long cherished friend or child rejects us; we can’t imagine a God who is Love. The face of God becomes distorted to our eyes.
Look to the woman in the Gospel once more. Like us, she approached Our Lord from the back. She could not see His face clearly either. Her loss and her loneliness did not prevent her from approaching her Lord; they propelled her toward Him. She saw Him with eyes of faith, and this was enough. It is enough.
“When did God’s love for you begin? When He began to be God. When did He begin to be God? Never, for He has always been without beginning and without end, and so He has always loved you from eternity.”– St. Francis de Sales