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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Rom 8:12-17): Brothers and sisters, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!”. The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
Responsorial Psalm: 67
R/. Our God is the God of salvation.
God arises; his enemies are scattered, and those who hate him flee before him. But the just rejoice and exult before God; they are glad and rejoice.

The father of orphans and the defender of widows is God in his holy dwelling. God gives a home to the forsaken; he leads forth prisoners to prosperity.

Blessed day by day be the Lord, who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation. God is a saving God for us; the Lord, my Lord, controls the passageways of death.
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 woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. 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.

But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.” 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?” When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated; and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.

«But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath...»

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 they 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.