Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
(Ephesians 4:32-5:8; Luke 13:10-17)
Every seminarian should learn not to chastise people in public. People may be willing to change improper behavior if told politely and discreetly. But they will surely defend themselves if publicly humiliated. Priests receive this lesson the hard way when they tell parents to remove a crying infant from church. Today’s gospel gives another instance of this very mild form of clerical abuse.
The synagogue leader scolds the sick for coming to see Jesus on a Sabbath. He faults them for causing Jesus to heal which he sees as a form of prohibited work. Interestingly, he directs his criticism at the invalids and not at Jesus, the perpetrator of the perceived misdeed. Anyway, Jesus comes to their defense. His argument is that since the Sabbath celebrates liberation, how can it be wrong to liberate the suffering on that day?
The passage from Ephesians gives us the proper perspective for correcting others’ mistakes. It exhorts us to be kind and compassionate to one another. Fraternal correction is an act of charity if done with respect for the dignity of the person at fault. We have to help him or her to feel cared for and not demeaned.