When Jesus healed the bleeding woman in Luke 8:42-48, it revealed a remarkable dimension of God’s grace. This image of a helpless woman that had been suffering for twelve years with a chronic menstruating condition was later restored by the redeemer.
As Jesus walked through the massive crowd, he is aware that healing power emitted from him due to a touch from his garment. Besides the faith of this woman, it’s clear she knew that even his attire was holy. The fact that she believed his very apparel had divine power shows an ancient practice of relics in Christianity.
Catholicism teaches that different kinds of relics from the Saints have significant healing properties associated with their bodies (first-class relic), materials they owned (second-class relic), or items touched by a first-class relics.
In the early church, many scrambled to find materials associated with Saints to keep as a source of their intercession and healing power. Such as my patron saint, St. Peter Claver, who died during the 17th-century century. Many local townspeople in Cartegna, Columbia raided his home and took many of his sacramentals because they realized he was a holy man with much reverence and holiness. To own or touch a piece of his property would bring them closer to Jesus Christ.
Anyhow, after Jesus searched the crowd for the “wrongdoer”, a woman trembling in fear fell to her knees in front of him. Jesus instead of showing condemnation shows mercy and applauds her faith. Telling her “Daughter, your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
At that moment, the verse from Hebrews 8:16 comes alive: Let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for the timely help.
This woman suffered and needed grace. Initially, she thought because of her action she would face condemnation, on top of the shame she knew under the ceremonial law from being unclean, but instead, Jesus gave her compassion. Thereby radically changing how women were seen in antiquity and breaking down the barrier of being ceremonially unclean, Jesus is shown as the great throne of grace that we all can come to.
As I reflect on these verses from Luke, I’m so grateful to be a part of the Catholic Church that still maintains the power of relics and the remarkable communion of saints that draws us closer to Jesus through this miraculous connection of the venerated left behind.