Monday, October 29,2012

Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

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

It is a sin against the first commandment to put one’s trust in another god, but does this mean that you cannot keep a tiger tooth for good luck? It is a sin against the second commandment to take the Lord’s name in vain, but does this mean that you sin by saying, “Oh God,” when you see something awesome? It is a sin not to honor one’s father and mother, but what are you to do when they tell you that they do not want to hear from you again? In today’s gospel Jesus addresses a knotty question such as the ones posed here.

Apparently nothing in the Mosaic Law expressly forbids healing on the Sabbath. However, certain Pharisees at the time of Jesus apparently consider such action work. Following such an interpretation, the leader of the synagogue chastises the crowd for seeking cures from Jesus. Knowing that the leader is making a dubious distinction, Jesus corrects him. He knows that his Father’s activity is essentially liberating. God freed the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt and constantly liberates their descendants from moral and spiritual blindness with the Law. Now Jesus imitates 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 forbid Sabbath healing. More to the point, 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.