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When we don’t have the strength, it’s Jesus who reaches out

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Fred de Noyelle | GODONG

Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 10/24/22

Faith is not only the experience of seeking and finding God, but it is also the certainty that we are sought and loved by Him ...

Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

Today’s Gospel story is built on the suffering of a poor woman who for 18 years had been hostage to an illness that prevented her from living a normal life. In this woman’s pain we can see all those events that affect our lives and make us live closed in on ourselves.

Sometimes it’s so complicated for us to realize how certain events have closed us off that we cannot even ask for help, pray, or wish for real change. 

In fact, the striking thing is that it wasn’t this woman who sought or saw Jesus first, but it was Jesus who saw her and took the initiative:

“When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, ‘Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.’ He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.”

It seems that today’s Gospel wants to reassure us that faith is not only the experience of seeking and finding God, but it is also the certainty that we are sought and loved by Him, even before we realize it or have the strength to make choices. 

In fact, the foundation of faith does not lie in our own capacity, but in Christ’s capacity to liberate the people He encounters. And this capacity is so clear in Him that even when challenged because of the very compassion he exercised toward this woman on the Sabbath day of rest, He defends her with all His might:

“The Lord said to him in reply, ‘Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?’”


Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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