A Life-Giving Rest Day

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October 26, 2020 – Monday 30th Week in Ordinary Time

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/102620.cfm)

Homily

Jesus could not stand seeing a person suffering. The Lord’s heart is so close to a person that he too feels what the person is suffering from. This kind of attitude in Jesus is conveyed to us in the Gospel. Though it was on a Sabbath and Jews prohibited people from working and doing anything that was considered work, this did not prevent Jesus to touch and heal the woman. Jesus understood very well that the purpose of the Sabbath was not do to any work, but to give life as God the Creator, gave life to all things.  

However, because of this actions from Jesus, he seemed to be a person that continually scandalized people. He particularly scandalized those who were in the leadership, those who were higher in status in the society.

Thus, a leader of the synagogue confronted Jesus for healing a woman crippled by a spirit for eighteen years, on a Sabbath day. As Sabbath  was considered to be holy by the Jews, its holiness shall be observed by not doing any work as God rested on the Sabbath after the creation. This man felt scandalized because he believed that it was not appropriate for Jesus to heal someone on a Sabbath day. His strict observance of the law, made him indifferent to the suffering of the woman.

Yet, such tradition prevented people from doing anything and even from doing what would be life-giving. A healer was forbidden to heal a sick person as a hungry man was not also allowed do to anything to ease his hunger. However, people were more considerate to their hungry animals than to their neighbors in need.

But then, Jesus knew and felt the many years of suffering of this woman. She suffered long enough. This compassion of Jesus lifted the burden and suffering caused by a spirit to her.

We might also find ourselves in this situation when we also become a person who complains a lot and tends to only see what is wrong and ugly in everything and everyone. We surely are just filled with malice, bitterness and insecurity.

Jesus confronted this leader of the synagogue and  wanted him to realize that God would not condemn us for doing God’s desire. God desires to give life to us, to heal us and bring us into freedom.

Thus, the encounter of Jesus with this woman suffering for many years touched him very much. Jesus tells us that Sabbath will only be more meaningful when one is able to bring healing and life to another. After all, God’s rest day is indeed holy because God gave life.

This is something that Jesus wanted to communicate to his disciples and to us today – that as we take time to rest, relax and take a break, we may also discover that we are to give life, healing and freedom whenever we are called to.

Let us remember, Jesus laid his hands on the woman to heal and free her from the spirit that crippled her. We may also dare and be courageous enough to touch others to bring healing and life. Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR

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