Reading today's Gospel about a woman bleeding for years, I cringed. Most of Jesus contemporaries would have avoided this woman at all costs, more concerned with their own cleanliness than with the woman's struggles to live a faith filled life.
In the United States these days there are a host of communal fears. Immigrants seem to threaten us, and this fear is sometimes fanned by political rhetoric rooted in ignorance and anxiety about the countries and cultures from which these people come. Because they speak a different language, wear different clothes, eat different foods and practice a different religion, we wonder whether we should admit them to our shores and sometimes even suggest they are criminals out to take advantage of our generosity. But Jesus' response to people's criticism and fear is plain.
"Do not be afraid," he cautions them. Get to know those who differ from you. When trust grows, he assures his listeners, they can build the kingdom of God together.
Today, stretch beyond your comfort zone and meet someone from a different culture or country.
Have your cultural or racial fears gotten in the way of your freedom?