October 30, 2020 – Friday of the 30th Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/103020.cfm)
Paul’s letter today reveals how warm his heart to people who were significant in his life. The Philippians who were Paul’s converts had a special place in his heart. This is how Paul also expressed his affection and longing of friendship with them. Moreover, Paul was even more grateful for the friendship he had with the Philippians, something that gave so much confidence and strength to Paul.
This tells us how friendship supports and gives assurance to people especially in difficult times. Paul was in prison, probably in Rome or in Ephesus, when he wrote his letter to them. While in prison, Paul must have a hard time. However, his friendship with these people was a source of comfort to him. Remembering them gave him joyful memories that must have eased the pain and loneliness while being persecuted.
This is a true loving response between people bounded in their friendship with the Lord. Paul’s deep friendship with the Lord compelled him to preach Jesus and bring the Risen Lord to the communities he encountered. Those communities like that of the Philippians developed such friendship too with one another and with Paul that mutually guides, supports and gives life to them.
Such loving response is the prayer of Paul also to the Philippians, he said, “and this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more.”
This kind of loving response is what we also witnessed in today’s Gospel. Jesus seeing a man suffering from dropsy was moved to heal and free the person. Jesus had so much affection for this man that he could not stand anymore seeing him suffering. The Lord’s desire was for every man and woman to have the fullness of life.
Despite the very situation of Jesus, he took the risk of healing the sick man in front of the those powerful people, the Pharisees. Though the Pharisees were silent when Jesus asked them, “Is it lawful to cure on a Sabbath or not?,” but their silence was filled with malice and hostility against Jesus.
Jesus took the risk because what he had was a loving response to a person in need. What matters most was his action to love and to assure the person that God has not left him.
This is what Jesus is also reminding and calling us today. We are called to respond in love and show our affection to people. Like Paul, let us also show with confidence our love and affection to those who are special in our life. Like Jesus too, let us not forget to assure, even the strangers, that as Christians, we are here to love and show concern to those who are in need. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR