This blog follows the daily bible readings of the Catholic Church
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.
For this writer, the church is called to be God’s new holy people, the model of a redeemed humanity. Distraction from this purpose by greed or immorality is in his eyes, the worship of false Gods. The very forceful metaphor of people AS either light or darkness re-enforces this rigorous morality: they imitate either God or idols. This is not a new legalism imposed on the community of faith. It’s a reminder of the transformation of character begun by trust in God’s love; and to be continued by their own discipline.
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.
For Jesus the Sabbath was one of the great gifts of God, both in itself as the day of rest, and also as an image of the day of God’s deliverance. It is a privilege and a promise which has been perverted into a mere restriction in synagogue religion. It’s interesting that Jesus appeals to common sense rather than theology. People look after their animals on the Sabbath, why not each other? Satan is depicted by Jesus as the power that oppresses humanity. Here that is not so much the physical illness as the community’s acceptance of her disability, which Jesus opposes in God’s name. This is a good example of the compassion of Jesus. He has time neither for ineffective pity, nor mere denunciation, but only for liberating action.