We heard in the Gospel reading this morning about St. Veronica, the woman with the issue of blood. For 12 years she was unable to stop this flow. The doctors could not help her. By the ancient law, she was unclean and expected to hide in the shadows. Listen to the words of Blessed Theophylact: “She approached and touched the border of His garment with the firm faith that if only she could touch His clothing, she would be made whole. And immediately the flow of blood stopped. Like a man who brings his eye close to a bright light, or brings a dry stick close to a fire, and they immediately react, so also the woman brought her faith close to Him Who has power to heal, and immediately she obtained healing. She gave no thought to anything else, neither the many years of her illness, nor the failure of the doctors. She only believed and was made whole. Understand that first she touched Jesus noetically, and only then did she touch Him bodily.” (The Explanation of The Holy Gospel According To Luke, by Blessed Theophylact, page 92) Noetically as defined by St. John of Damascus, “is the nous which is the purest part of the soul.”
Can you and I find some sort of connection with her? Here lately it seems every time I go to the new church to work I am nursing a cut finger, sprained knee or aching muscle. Although these are minor tribulations, I am reminded of this woman, St. Veronica, who with faith and every hope pressed near to see Christ. She didn’t give up! She didn’t stop! Perhaps if we look deeply inward we too have an unclean flow that dictates our lives and pushes us into the shadows, away from the Healer. We all have a disease, we all need healing! (Luke 8:43-48)
I don’t know how much time I have left. And I don’t know how much time you have left! I do know that I want to be nearer to Christ. I want to touch his garment. I want to feel His watchful eyes see me in the midst of my busyness, in the midst of my crowd of sinfulness, and with what is left of my aging aching human body. How long do we continue to suffer, to be set apart from the Great Healer? Another 12 years, or is this the day that we press through our busy routine of distraction and our sightless eye that constantly overlooks our filth? How long will we let this uncleanliness flow from our hearts of sinful thoughts and allow our selfish actions to stain our wedding garment? Our hearts are diseased and in need repentance. The doctors can’t heal this! We can’t fix this either. Yes it takes an effort on our parts but we need the Great Physician, it takes us surrendering all that we have, to become someone that strives for virtue. St. Augustine is quoted as saying: “God is a physician, and that suffering is a medicine for salvation, not a punishment for damnation.” It takes us pressing through this hot mess and coming in contact with the Great Healer, the One who saves! And maybe by the grace of God we will one day hear these words: “be of good courage; thy faith hath made thee well. Go thou in peace.” [Lk. 8:48]
After her healing, St. Veronica is said to have made a statue of Christ and placed it in front of her house, where everyone could venerate it. A healing plant grew at the base of the statue, which was able to cure various diseases. Later, Saint Veronica became a member of the early Church and after living a life of holiness, she surrendered her soul to God.