The Gospel according to Luke (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.
REFLECTION: Every time I read this Gospel, it makes think of the humiliation and awkwardness that the people in the crowd, who witnessed this scene, when the leader spoke up over Jesus. The synagogue leader is afraid to take on Jesus; instead, he rebukes the crowd for seeking a cure on the Sabbath. And the response from Jesus in retribution to the leader’s response for the justice of this poor woman. I wonder if the crowd’s reaction was with an overwhelming applause or affirming outburst.
The key theme in this story is the woman who is release from the burden of bondage and suppression. Similar to the story of the Paralytic who was lowered from the roof of his friends. Jesus is the liberator in many ways, he enables us to stand straight, freeing us from what bows our heads so that we see only the earth in front of us.
This story is about us asking Our Lord to give me the spirit of freedom, to give me the energy and health to serve his people. We all have given “Free Will”. Jesus gives us the freedom (1) to choose or to make choices (2) from bondage of the evil one (3) from rules that surround us (4) from people who judge. We have the freedom to love and embrace each other.
Freedom is about choosing time for people and ideas and self-growth rather than for guarding and possessing. It’s about living the simple and peaceful life. Simple living is about moving through life rather lightly, delighting in the plain and the subtle. It is about poetry and dance, song and art, music and grace. It is about optimism and humor, gratitude and appreciation. It is about embracing life with wide-open arms. It’s about living and giving with no strings attached. Isn’t that what Jesus did?
Simple living is a relaxed grasp on life. Simplicity cherishes ideas and relationships. They are treasured more because simplicity doesn’t cling nor try to possess things or people or relationships. Simplicity frees us within, but it frees others, too. Simple living is a statement of presence. The real me. This simplicity makes us welcome among the wealthy and the poor alike.
We will not be happy living selfishly in a small world. We must live in awareness and in association with the whole real world. In order to do this, we have to let go of my own present way of seeing things. We’re afraid to lose the control that we think that we have over the life that we think that we’re living, and we’re addicted to what binds us.
Then the mystery of the cross is this mystery of being liberated from this deep addiction to the illusion of an ultimately isolated self that has to make it on its own. To realize we are in the presence of the love that loves us and takes us to itself. Through that inner process of discipleship, or whatever we want to call it, we can come to . . . true sobriety, the peace of God that surpasses understanding.
ACTION OF THE DAY: Reflect, today, upon any tendency you may have with the heavy burdens that you may carry. Do you worry in an irrational way about sin? Do you ever find yourself obsessing over decisions, worrying that you may make the wrong one? Do you think about yourself far more than you think about God and others?