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Monday – Thirtieth Week – OT2
Readings: Eph 4:32-5:8; Lk 13:10-17.
Reading 1 (Eph 4:32-5:8):
Brothers and sisters:
Be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.
Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love,
as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us
as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.
Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is fitting among holy ones,
no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place,
but instead, thanksgiving.
Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person,
that is, an idolater,
has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.
Let no one deceive you with empty arguments,
for because of these things
the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.
So do not be associated with them.
For you were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light.
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.
Written by: Fr. Tien M. Dinh, OP.
I. THEME: Have courage to change what isn’t right.
The truth never depends on time, place or number of people. Some people in today society think that they must reconsider what people always believe, because science advanced so much and can explain almost of everything. Others think that the truth is only relative, depending on what people think and conditioning by time and place.
Today readings invite people to reconsider their beliefs to find out the truth because it isn’t always necessary that what they believed or are so familiar with are true. People need to open up their mind to receive others’ teaching; then to reason and to compare with what they believed. If their belief isn’t right, they must have courage to change and to believe in the truth. In the first reading, since the Ephesians were so used to the Greek’s liberal lifestyle, they considered all sexual activities are normal. St. Paul asked them to reconsider their lifestyle so that they can orientate their life to a better lifestyle. In the Gospel, the head of the synagogue criticized Jesus’ healing of the woman because he esteemed the Sabbath’s observance over compassion. Jesus opposed his attitude and taught people must value mercy over the observance of the law.
1/ Reading I: Christians must love and forgive others.
1.1/ The most important princiciples of Christianity: are love and forgiveness, not on the observance of the law. As God loves and forgives people, they must also love and forgive others. St. Paul encouraged the Ephesians, “Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.”
1.2/ The Ephesians must reconsider their lifestyle: This basic principle demands the Ephesians to examine their lifestyle. The Greeks have a liberal concept about morality, especially sexual activities. For example, since the Gnosticism think that only the soul is important, the body is only a prison that confines the soul; therefore, they can do anything that relates to the body. The Christian teaching about sexual sins has no value to them.
St. Paul asked them to reconsider their beliefs, “Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is fitting among holy ones, no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place, but instead, thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” St. Paul paid a special attention to the three sins:
(1) Fornication (porneía): unchastity, prostitution, fornication, of various kinds of unlawful sexual intercourse. This is the sin which is always in St. Paul’s list of sins. He believed human body is members of Christ’s body (1 Cor 6:13; 1 Cor 12:13) and the Holy Spirit’s temple (1 Cor 6:19); therefore, whoever commits this sin, separates himself from Christ’s body (1 Cor 6:16) because Christ is holy.
(2) Impurity (akatharsía): This is the sin opposited with goodness (katharos) and holiness (hagios). This sin includes all sins that cause people to be impure such as: jealousy, lying, dirty talking, etc. St. Paul advised, “No obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place, but instead, thanksgiving.”
(3) Greedy (pleonechía): This sin can be applied to money, power, fame and beauty. According to Paul, greedy is the same as idol worshipping because the faithful worship God’s creatures instead of God Who creates all these (Col 3:5). It also sins against others because the greedy desire what belong to other or treat others unjustly to attain what they desire.
1.3/ Christians must have courage to change their life according to the truth: Facing Paul’s teaching, the Ephesians must make their decision: either to live according to the truth or to remain in the lifestyle which they were so used to. There shall be someone as the Gnostist who opposes to Paul’s teaching because “the body is a prison that confines the soul” or some Protestants who said, “A Christian needs only to believe in Christ.” St. Paul advised the Christians, “Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. So do not be associated with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.”
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 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: either to oppose Jesus and to be shameful or to be proud of Jesus because of his teaching and compassion for people.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We must let our mind open to welcome true teachings and to correct our misunderstanding and bad habits. We must also value love and compassion more that observance of the law.