Friday, October 31 ~ Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Holy Gospel: 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. 

Meditation: Jesus already knew that his hosts wanted to catch him in the act of breaking their Sabbath rituals. So when Jesus gave his defense for healing on the Sabbath, they treated him with cold silence. They were ensnared in their own legalism and could not understand or see the purpose of God in allowing a work of healing to take precedence over rest. Why did God give the commandment to keep holy the Sabbath and enjoined his people to refrain from work on that day? The “Sabbath rest” was meant to be a time to remember and celebrate God’s goodness and the goodness of his works, both in creation and redemption. It was a day set apart for the praise of God, his work of creation, and his saving actions on our behalf. It was intended to bring everyday work to a halt and to provide needed rest and refreshment. It was not, however, intended to put a stop to love of God and love of neighbor. The law of love supersedes the law of rest! Jesus shows the fallacy of the Pharisees’ legalism by pointing to God’s intention for the Sabbath: to do good and to heal. God’s word has power to heal and to set us free from ignorance, error, intolerance, and prejudice.

Prayer: Almighty and ever-living God, our source of power and inspiration, give us strength and joy in serving you as followers of Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Contemplation: Time is a precious commodity in all of our lives. But increasingly Sunday – the Lord’s Day – is becoming just another day of the week. In his Apostolic Letter Dies Domini, “The Day of the Lord,” Pope Saint John Paul II invited us to think more deeply about time itself in order to appreciate God’s gift of the Lord’s Day. He writes (in #7), “Do not be afraid to give your time to Christ! …He is the One who knows the secret of time and the secret of eternity, and He gives us ‘His day’ as an ever new gift of His love. The rediscovery of this day is a grace which we must implore, not only so that we may live the demands of faith to the full, but also so that we may respond concretely to the deepest human yearnings. Time given to Christ is never time lost, but is rather time gained, so that our relationships and indeed our whole life may become more profoundly human.”