Father James Swanson, LC
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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.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe
in you with a faith that never seeks to
test you. I trust in you, hoping to learn to
accept and follow your will, even when it does
not make sense to the way that I see things.
May my love for you and those around me
be similar to the love you have shown to me.
Petition: Lord, protect me from spiritual
1. Jesus Is Showing his Messiah Credentials Again:
Jesus’ opponents were desperate. They didn’t want to believe
that he was the Messiah, and they especially didn’t
want anyone else to think he was the Messiah. But
there was the pesky problem of his miracles. They
knew that when God sent someone to speak for
him, he usually performed signs through the person so that
people would believe in him. The sign was proof
that the person (Jesus in this case) was sent
by God. Jesus was doing plenty of miracles, which most
people were taking as the sign that he was
sent by God. What could Jesus’ opponents do? They
could only try to discredit the miracles any way possible.
You Can Do a Lot More than You Think on
the Sabbath: This miracle was done on the Sabbath.
The head of the synagogue had a problem with
that. Didn’t God himself rest on the sixth day? Oughtn’t
we to do the same? How does this Jesus
heal on the Sabbath if he is truly from God?
In fact, there were many exceptions to the rules
about the Sabbath. In another place, Jesus himself says
that the Sabbath is made for man, not man for
the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). Certainly, the observance of the
Sabbath was always subject to the practice of charity,
that it was always permissible to break the Sabbath rest
in the case when needed to do some necessary
act of charity for another. Jesus mentions situations when
for practical reasons (necessary farm chores, like watering animals)
work can be done without breaking the Sabbath rest.
Please Let me Keep my Mediocrity: And so, there is
really nothing to the objection. The head of the
synagogue does not want to believe because what Jesus
says and does seems threatening to him. If Jesus is
the Messiah, he foresees having to change his life,
and he does not want to do that. He
may not even realize that this is his real objection,
but it is. We can be this way, too.
We don’t want to accept something Jesus teaches us
through his Church because it would mean that we have
to change our lives, and we don’t want to.
We are comfortable the way we are. If we had
to do what Jesus asks, it would take us
out of our comfort zone. Sometimes it is mere fear
of something different. Jesus always is offering us something
different, but we don’t want it. We want to
stay in our rut. We have surrounded ourselves with
limited horizons and are afraid to stretch them.
Christ: Dear Jesus, help me to accept you fully.
If I am rejecting you or your teaching without
realizing it, show me. Help me to overcome my
attempt to construct my own little universe in which I
am God. If I have grown old spiritually, renew
my youth and help me break through my restricted,
shrunken horizons that exclude you.
Resolution: Where in my life
have I settled into spiritual routine and old age?
Do I habitually skip some prayer I should be saying,
telling myself it isn’t that important? I will make
an extra effort to pray it today. Is there some
other aspect of my spiritual or moral life that
I have removed to make life “more comfortable” for
me? Time to start doing it again!