Reflection on the Lectionary: Mark 5:21-43
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Reflection on the Lectionary: Mark 5:21-43
(June 28, 2009)

This passage includes the story of Jesus healing the woman with perpetual bleeding. After the woman touches Jesus, “Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd…” What happened here, and how does it relate to us?
I think this story suggests that holistic healing, which takes into account the entire person rather than focus on the specific organ or site of complaint, takes energy. Holistic healing involves compassion, caring, and focus, because it requires that the healer understand not only the patient’s physical condition but also how the malady has transformed the patient into a state of sickness (i.e., dis-ease).  Remarkably, the healed woman then openly acknowledged what she had done, and Jesus declared, “your faith has made you well.” She had experienced much more than a cessation of blood flow; she had been healed in the holistic sense. Her public declaration reflected her faith, and this faith was crucial to her healing.
Similarly, even as we aim to respond to our call to serve God by showing caring and respect for God’s Creation, our ability to help heal a sick world largely depends on others having faith that God (or whatever they regard as the creative/moving force of the cosmos) wants us to show love and compassion. As activists, we can sometimes help alleviate some of the symptoms of the disease, analogous to stopping the woman’s flow of blood, but new symptoms of disease will invariably arise if the world lacks faith. For example, we can and should try to stop the various forms of animal abuse, but a faithless, hard-hearted world will find new ways to abuse animals as long as it lacks faith that we are all called to be loving and compassionate.

Often after healing people, Jesus retreated from the crowds, evidently to replenish his stores of energy. Similarly, those of us working for peace and justice for all of God’s Creation need a respite from our activism to rejuvenate ourselves. This can take several forms, including meditation, exercise, or relaxation among friends. 

Go on to: Reflections on the Lectionary, Mark 6:1-13
Return to: Reflection on the Lectionary, Table of Contents 

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