The bent over woman in today’s Gospel is never given a name, except that she is a daughter of Abraham. She is barely noticed amongst the others there for Jesus’ teaching in the synagogue. She can’t see Jesus, but she can hear him. For sure, no one is looking at her. They probably ignore her as she tries in vain to get close or comfortable. The bent woman believed she was crippled by a spirit for 18 long years because of her sin. Imagine what this must do to someone’s soul day in and day out, their outlook on life, and faith. Ignored and marginalized by others, not to mention always looking down at your feet, just the step in front of you and nothing more.
It’s how I lived before I converted to the Catholic faith just a couple of years ago. I never realized that I was seen, noticed, accepted and given the grace to walk tall and be healed. All those years with my head down, bent over and crippled without Him. I had my husband and family of course, but it was my soul that needed healing.
At some point or other in our lives we are all bent women, only seeing the dirt of hopelessness before us, too crippled to see a smile, beauty, or the goodness of God because we are so “bent” on seeing the worst. For some, like me for so many years, it’s all we know.
We can live crippled by the spirit of doing too much, of working tirelessly for little ones that truly need us, deadlines at work that paralyze u,s and even just the weight of expectation we set on ourselves to do more and be better. I can’t help but think that the constant tearing down of our bodies when we look in the mirror, believing and living for what other people say we should be.
Without His help, we can never stand straight. We need to let God lay His hands on us just as the bent woman did. We need to hear Him say, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.”
We also need to believe it and glorify God in return. It was her faith that allowed the healing, her faith in Jesus that he could transform her into a woman seen, noticed and whole. She was now able to look upon all the new found beauty that He prepared, laid out before her. She was also able to look at the crowd in the eye, and be recognized as a daughter of God.
For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. (Eph 5:8)
I am the bent woman made straight. No matter what, I am always a daughter of God. He will always reach out and set me free.
How can you let the hand of God touch you on the shoulder and set you free today?
Cristina T is a married mother of two sweet boys. A convert and Lay Dominican Novice, you can find more about her here.