The Holy Gospel According to Luke (14:1-6).
On a Sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?” But they kept silent; so he took the man and, after he had healed him, dismissed him. Then he said to them “Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern, would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?” But they were unable to answer his question.
Reflection: In today’s Gospel, Jesus finds himself at the home of a leading Pharisee on the sabbath. Jesus was probably an invited guest to this dinner. But it looked like the other invited guests had an ulterior motive. Their suspicious attitude set the initial mood for the meal and their intentions toward Jesus. They wanted to discover a way to make an accusation against Him. They watched Jesus carefully to see what he would do with the sick man. Usually in the Gospels, it is the Pharisees and the Sadducees who were the ones who asked Jesus questions to test him or trap him. In today’s Gospel, Jesus turns the table on them. He is the one who asks them a question. Jesus asked them, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?” Jesus then healed the sick man and dismissed him. Then Jesus asked them another question about doing ordinary things on the sabbath. This miracle happened right in front of those who especially criticized him for his healing on the Sabbath. The scholars of the law and the Pharisees did not say anything and kept silent. They were unable to answer the question Jesus asked them after he cured the sick man.
These people were sharing a meal with Jesus the Messiah. Think of this opportunity these dinner guests missed. They sat and shared a meal with the Son of God. Because of the hardness of their hearts, they were so blind, they could not see who He was. Instead, they focused on “observing him carefully.” As a consequence, they did not know Him.
In last Sunday’s Gospel, we heard the scholar of the law ask Jesus which commandment in the law was the greatest commandment. Jesus answered to love God with all your heart, soul and mind, then to love your neighbor as yourself. In today’s gospel, we are reminded that when it comes to the law, Jesus makes it clear that all law is subordinate to the one great law: that we are to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. We will never stray far from the path if we keep this
Action for the Day: The dinner guests sat down with Jesus, but they did not recognize him. Next time we are setting aside time to “sit” with Jesus, may we pray for the grace to recognize his presence and to listen to his words as he speaks to us in the classroom of silence. The message we receive will be just for you and me.