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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Monday 30th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Eph 4:32—5:8): Brothers and sisters: Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma. Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is fitting among holy ones, no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place, but instead, thanksgiving.

Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. So do not be associated with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.
Responsorial Psalm: 1
R/. Behave like God as his very dear children.
Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, but delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on his law day and night.

He is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does, prospers.

Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away. For the Lord watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes.
Versicle before the Gospel (Cf. Jn 17:17): Alleluia. Your word, o Lord, is truth; consecrate us in the truth. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 13,10-17): Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath and a crippled woman was there. An evil spirit had kept her bent for eighteen years so that she could not straighten up at all. On seeing her, Jesus called her and said, «Woman, you are freed from your infirmity». Then He laid his hands upon her and immediately she was made straight and praised God.

But the ruler of the synagogue was indignant because Jesus had performed this healing on the Sabbath day and he said to the people, «There are six days in which to work; come on those days to be healed and not on the Sabbath». But the Lord replied, «You hypocrites! Everyone of you unties his ox or his donkey on the Sabbath and leads it out of the barn to give it water. And here you have a daughter of Abraham whom Satan had bound for eighteen years. Should she not be freed from her bonds on the Sabbath?». When Jesus said this, all his opponents felt ashamed. But the people rejoiced at the many wonders that happened through him.

«But the ruler of the synagogue was indignant because Jesus had performed this healing on the Sabbath day...»

Fr. Francesc JORDANA i Soler (Mirasol, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we can see how Jesus carries out an action that loudly proclaims his interpretation of messianic fulfillment. And how, in front of it, the ruler of the synagogue gets outraged and scolds people for coming to be healed on a Saturday: «There are six days in which to work; come on those days to be healed and not on the Sabbath» (Lk 13:14).

I would like to center this commentary upon this character's attitude. I have always been surprised at how, before an evident miracle, there is always someone who is able to close his eyes in such a way that he remains totally unconcerned. Had he not seen what happened or what it means, it would be the same. The reason being, though, that many Jews in those days had a wrong experience of intermediations. For different reasons —anthropological, cultural, divine designs— it is unavoidable that between God and man some intermediations must exist. The problem is that, some Jews made of this intermediation something absolute. With the end result that the intermediation did not bring them into communication with God but, rather, they remained stuck in the very intermediation. They forgot the final true meaning and stayed put, instead, in the intent. And, thus, God cannot pass on to them neither his grace, nor his gifts and love, their religious experience not enriching, then, their life.

All this took them to live a rigorous religious experience, shutting down their god within strict limits. They manufactured a custom-made god, which they did not let into their lives. In their religiosity they believed all was well provided the stayed within certain rules. We can, thus, understand Jesus' reaction: «You hypocrites! Everyone of you unties his ox or his donkey on the Sabbath and leads it out of the barn to give it water?» (Lk 13:15). Jesus uncovers the absurdity of this wrong experience of the Sabbath.

God's words should help us to examine our own religious experience and to find out whether the intermediations we use actually bring us into communication with God and with life. St. Augustine's phrase, «Love and do what you will», can only be understood as the correct experience of intermediations.

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