Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

(Ephesians 4:32-5:8; Luke 13:10-17)

It’s a sin against the first commandment to put one’s trust in another god, but does this mean that I cannot keep a tiger tooth for good luck? It’s a sin against the second commandment to take the Lord’s name in vain, but does this mean that I sin by saying “Oh God” when I see something awesome? It’s a sin not to honor one’s father and mother, but what am I to do when they tell me that they do not want to hear from me again? These questionable situations are similar to what Jesus faces in today’s gospel.

Apparently nothing in the Mosaic Law forbids healing on the Sabbath. However, certain Pharisees at the time of Jesus interpreted such an act as violating Sabbath observance. Following such an interpretation, the leader of the synagogue chastises the crowd for seeking Jesus’ cures. Knowing that the comment is an unsubstantiated interpretation, Jesus corrects the synagogue leader. He sees the Father’s activity among His people as essentially liberating. God freed the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt and constantly liberates the people from ignorance with the Law. Now Jesus is only imitating his Father by freeing the woman from a particularly gruesome malady.

It would be unfair to say that Jesus is rationalizing his action. Again, the Law does not expressly forbid Sabbath healing. However, he is appealing to the people’s sense of justice and prudence in interpreting the Law. Always, he indicates, we have to use our intelligence aided by the virtues to determine what the Lawgiver expects with any given statute.