October 24, 2011 - Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Today's Readings

Jesus has told us that we are “worth many sparrows”. Today he insists that a “daughter of Abraham” is worth at least as much as an ox or an ass. The selfishness of the Pharisees here is clear. They make special rules to break the Sabbath for their own concerns, but this woman is not their concern. The leader of the synagogue has just seen a woman, after 18 years of walking around bent over, stand up and glorify God. Instead of celebrating with her, instead of glorifying with her, he is angry.

If that synagogue leader were given the power to heal people, what would he have done? Would he really have healed non-stop for six days and rested on the seventh? I do not think so. I think that he would not have healed anyone except when he could use the opportunity to impress people or enrich himself. There is just something so unendurably passive-aggressive in that sentence, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.”

He does not care, but Jesus does. Jesus does not heal her to demonstrate his own power. He sees her and calls out, “Woman you are set free from your infirmity.” He lays his hands on her. He defends her dignity against the synagogue leader. We can see how Jesus cares about this woman, how Jesus cares about us. God cares about us.

Why does he love us so much? We are sinners. We constantly disappoint him. If I were God, I would have given up on me by now. I know that I do not have the kind of patience that I require. God, moreover, does not merely put up with us. He loves us. He has adopted us as his children. He has promised us an inheritance as co-heirs with Christ. He wants us to live with him forever.

In God we have a father who will never abandon us. In our weakness, he is strong. In our darkness, he is light. In our suffering, he is comfort. Though we sin against him, he will still love us. Though we hurt his children, he will still love us. Though we are damned for all eternity to suffer the pains of hell, he will still love us. We do not have to impress him. We do not have to make him proud. We just have to love him in return, which begins with caring about his other children.