When reading Scripture, we Catholics are taught first to look at the historical context of the passage, to understand the literary elements, the forms of writing, the purpose of the Evangelist or other writers, to consider the way this particular passage relates to other passages of Scripture, and so on. And then, using that learning, we apply the passage to ourselves, to our own situation. We let our own perspective further illuminate the meaning of the passage. Just as God was able to use the experience of original authors of Scripture to speak truth to us, despite their human limitations and cultural biases, we believe God also uses our own human experience to reveal the truth of Scripture. Why this little lesson about reading Scripture? Because this Sunday’s Gospel highlights a neglected topic when it is read from the experience and perspective of women. The Gospel is an account of a miracle within a miracle. In the middle of going to the aid of a dying young woman of 12, daughter of a synagogue official, Jesus heals another woman who had “been bleeding” for 13 years. The 12-year-old young daughter is just on the verge of her sexual maturity and, saved from death, she now can go on to be a mother. The other woman can finally heal and have a normal woman’s life. Remember that for the Jews, menstruating women were unclean, and anyone they touched also became impure and had to purify themselves. So these two healings focus on the bodies of women, from whose monthly cycles and labor pains we all emerge. Across our world, women still are discriminated against in so many ways. Shining women’s perspective on our Gospel opens our awareness to this still-unredeemed area of modern life. Let’s spare a prayer this week for young girls just becoming women, and for other women who continue to live with the afflictions and abuse imposed on them for just being women.
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia