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Monday – Thirtieth Week – OT1
Readings: Rom 8:12-17; Lk 13:10-17.
Reading 1 (Rom 8:12-17):
Brothers and sisters,
we are not debtors to the flesh,
to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die,
but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body,
you will live.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you received a spirit of adoption,
through which we cry, “Abba, Father!”
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit
that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs,
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
if only we suffer with him
so that we may also be glorified with him.
Gospel (Lk 13:10-17):
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.
I. THEME: Live according to Holy Spirit’s guidance.
Many people think they have freedom to do whatever they want; but they will soon find out that is not a true freedom. For example, smoking marijuanna; one can think he has freedom to try it, but after a few times, he has no freedom to stop smoking it. He became addictive to marijuanna.
Today readings help people to recognize and to live according to the true freedom. In the first reading, St. Paul compared the Christian’s status before and after he believes in Christ. Before he believes in Christ, he is a slave for the law and sins; the result of this way is death. From the time he believes in Christ, he becomes a new man and begins a new life; his past sins are wiped away by Christ’s blood, and he officially is a God’s child. As a child, he will be co-inherited with Christ both in this life and the life to come. In the Gospel, Christ refused to let the law of the sabbath preventing him to show his mercy and compassion for the woman who has endured infirmity for 18 years. He healed her and was met with angry from the ruler of the synagogue.
1/ Reading I: All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
1.1/ Roman law about the relationship between a father and a son: According to the “patria potestas” of Roman law, a father has a complete and lifetime authority over his children; even they were matured or married. Therefore, it is very difficult for a son to be free from his father and for adopting a son. To have an adopted son, one has to get “patria potestas” from his father to one’s possession according to the following procedure:
(1) The first step is called “mancipatio.” The father must sell his son symbolically by using copper and a balance three times. The first two times he sells his son symbolically and buys him back; but the third time, he does not buy him back; therefore, the “patria potestas” is destroyed.
(2) The second step is called “vindicatio.” This is a ceremony in which the adopted father must present before a magistrate of a Roman court, and make a petition to transfer the “patria potestas” to his right. If the magistrate approves, he officially becomes the father of that son.
When one officially becomes an adopted son of a new father, he will be inherited the following rights: First, he will loose all rights of his former family, but will enjoy all rights of his new family; because he officially has a new father. Second, he has a right to inherit his new father’s inheritance; even his new father might has more chilren, all will be equally inherited. Last, all the adopted son’s past are wiped out; for example, debts. He is considered as a new man to live a new life and the past has no influence on him.
1.2/ We became God’s chilren: The image of an adopted son might be in Paul’s mind when he compared the Christian life before and after one believes in Christ. We can list out three rights of a Christian as follows:
(1) God has redeemed us by the blood of His Own Son: Sins separate people from God. To redeem, God had to pay by the price of Christ’s blood, His Only Son. St. Paul confirmed: “It is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God… For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” The Holy Spirit is compared as a magistrate of the Roman court.
(2) He wiped out all our sins: Since Christ has put human sins on him, all human sins are wiped out. A Christian can start a new life and need not to worry about results of his past sins. St. Paul advised his faithfuls: “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship; when we cry, “Abba! Father!””
(3) We are officially inherited God’s inheritance: St. Paul ascertained: “And if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
2/ Gospel: “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.”
2.1/ Jesus was moved with compassion when he witnessed human suffering: A normal and healthy person will have a compassion when he sees a mother with a bent back. This might be the result of hard working days in rice field to provide food for her children. If one has an eye disease, he will have compassion for the blind. If one has a bent back like her, he will know her suffering when she has to look up. Jesus felt her suffering and had compassion for her. He wanted to heal her even she did not ask to be healed and it is the Sabbath. So, she called and said to her: “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.”And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God.
2.2/ The indifferent attitude of the ruler of the synagogue: Seeing the same suffered woman; but the reaction of the ruler of the synagogue was completely different with Christ’s reaction. Her suffering meant nothing to him; but Christ’s violation of the Sabbath had offended him and made him to loose face with the audience. He angrily said to the crowd but directly implied at Jesus: “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.”
2.3/ Jesus displayed his wrong doings: First of all, Jesus called him “You hypocrites!” because his words seemed to protect the Sabbath law; but he violated the law to protect his right. Jesus gave him an example: “Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger, and lead it away to water it?” Next, Jesus showed to everyone his indifference when he treated a human being less value than an ox or an ass: “And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?”
Facing Jesus’ correction, human beings can have two attitudes: All who opposed Jesus are shameful; but the majority of the crowd is happy because all great things Jesus has accomplished.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We must live according to the Holy Spirit’s guidance to be freely live as God’s children. We should not live according to our human selfish and fleshy standards.
– We must put love and mercy above material gains and keeping the law only at outside. We should not be indifferent and insensible before others’ sufferings and needs.