rev.dr_joaquin.jpgThere are many types of suffering – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – and all create bondage. The bondage of hatred causes racism and poverty, the bondage of bitterness causes abuse and abandonment issues and the bondage of deprivation causes poverty, hunger and illness, all causing many to fall deep into debt.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that President Barack Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act is constitutional and, as a result, 30 million Americans are now freed from many of these forms of suffering.

Mark 5:21-34 tells the story of a dying girl and a sick woman. The girl is the daughter of the synagogue ruler Jarius. Jarius normally would not have anything to do with Jesus. But now his daughter is sick and so, out of desperation, he seeks out Christ.

In the midst responding to Jarius’ request for help, Christ is touched by another sufferer, a woman on the streets with a 12-year hemorrhage of blood.

Mark 5:26 tells us that “the woman had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse” – just as many Americans are today suffering, paying all they have and not getting better, in need of expensive medical care they cannot afford.

Others are paying for medical care but are using retirement dollars to do so. For others the cost of health care is wiping out their life savings. For still others, health care cost is eating up their disposable income.For all these people, the Supreme Court’s ruling freed them from some form of suffering.

Despite Jarius’ religious and political affiliations, Christ goes to Jarius’ house to heal his daughter. Like Christ, we too must do the right thing, even when the sufferer is the influential ruler of the synagogue and especially when it is the poor woman on the street, like the woman with the hemorrhage.

The president, in my opinion, has consistently done right during his three years in office. Even at great political risk, he stood up for what was right, pushing laws like the controversial health care reform act, knowing it would help more than 30 million sufferers, regardless of their political, religious and economic views and backgrounds.

Some of my readers hate when I compare President Obama’s actions to those of Christ. They quickly point out some of his actions which, in their opinions, are not like Christ’s. 

But, to me, his fighting for something that is not politically popular, because he believes it is right, is what Christ would do. It is common to come to Christ when we have tried, in vain, all other sources of help and we find no remedy for our suffering.

Many are suffering hypocritically from pride and arrogance while perishing from a lack of adequate health care, all while speaking against the legislation, based solely on partisan politics.

After the woman touches Jesus’ robe, Mark 5:29 tells us, “Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt her body freed from her suffering.” But none of us will ever find rest for our souls or freedom from suffering until we touch the hem of Jesus’ garment and confess it was us reaching out for help.

In the story of the girl and the sick woman, after healing the hemorrhaging woman, Christ reminds her of her earlier thoughts, as He reads her mind, saying to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace because you have been ‘freed from your suffering’.”

One cannot help believe that most politicians know just what Chief Justice John Roberts apparently knew, that it was the morally right thing to do to uphold the law.

The health care law is a stark contrast in spiritual justice. It is a contrast between the despair of the rich over who’s going to pay for the new health care reforms and the hope of the poor in now being covered for health care.

We, as a country, must be unafraid and believe God will stop our fiscal hemorrhage and suffering. And thank God for the divine justice brought to 30 million people by our Supreme Court, who avoided partisan politics, thus moving this nation forward.

The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door in Miami’s Liberty City community. He may be reached at 305-759-0373 or

Photo: Rev. DR. R. Joaquin Willis