Friday - Ordinary Time
1) Opening prayer
Almighty and ever-living God,
strengthen our faith, hope and love.
May we do with loving hearts
what you ask of us
and come to share the life you promise.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - Luke 14,1-6
that on a Sabbath day Jesus had gone to share a meal in the house of one of the
leading Pharisees; and they watched him closely. Now there in front of him was a man with dropsy, and Jesus addressed
the lawyers and Pharisees with the words, 'Is it against the law to cure
someone on the Sabbath, or not?'
remained silent, so he took the man and cured him and sent him away.
Then he said to
them, 'Which of you here, if his son falls into a well, or his ox, will not
pull him out on a Sabbath day without any hesitation?' And to this they could
find no answer.
● Today’s Gospel narrates an episode
of the discussion between Jesus and the Pharisees, which took place along his
journey from Galilee up to Jerusalem. It is very difficult to situate this fact
in the context of the life of Jesus. There are similarities with a fact
narrated in the Gospel of Mark (Mk 3, 1-6). Probably it is a question of the
many stories transmitted orally and, in the oral transmission; they were
adapted in accordance with the situation, the need and the hopes, of the people
of the communities.
● Luke 14, 1: The invitation on a
Saturday. “On a Sabbath day Jesus went to share a meal in the house of one of
the leading Pharisees and they watched him closely”. This initial
information on the reception in the house of a Pharisee gives Luke the possibility
to present several episodes which speak about welcoming, accepting to have a
meal: the cure of the sick man (Lk 14, 2-6), choice of places where to eat (Lk
14, 7-11), choice of the guests invited (Lk 14, 12-14), those invited who do
not accept the invitation (Lk 14,15-24). Many times Jesus is invited by the
Pharisees to share a meal. Perhaps the reason for inviting him was out of
curiosity and some malice, wishing to observe Jesus to see how he observes the
prescriptions of the law.
● Luke 14, 2: The situation which
brings about the action of Jesus. “There was a man with dropsy”. It is not
said how a man with dropsy could enter the house of the head of the Pharisees.
But if he is in front of Jesus it is because he wants to be cured. The
Pharisees observe Jesus. It was a Saturday, and it is forbidden to cure on a
Saturday. What to do? Can it be done or not?
● Luke 14, 3: The question of
Jesus to the Scribes and the Pharisees. “Jesus addressing the lawyers and the
Pharisees asked, Is it against the law to cure someone on the Sabbath or not? With
his question Jesus explains the problem which they had before them: “Can one
cure or not on Saturday? Does the law permit this, yes or no? In Mark’s Gospel
the question is even more provocative: “Is it permitted on the Sabbath day to
do good, or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” (Mk 3, 4).
● Luke 14, 4-6: The cure. The
Pharisees do not respond and remain in silence. Before the silence of the one
who neither approves nor disapproves, Jesus takes the man by the hand, cures
him and sends him away. After, to respond to a possible criticism, he explains
the reason that has moved him to cure: “Which of you here, if his son falls
into a well, or his ox, will not pull him out on a Sabbath day without any
hesitation?” With this question Jesus shows the incoherence of the lawyers
and of the Pharisees. If one of them has no problem, on Saturday, to help his
son or even an animal, so Jesus also has the right to help the man with dropsy.
Jesus’ question recalls the Psalm, where it is said that God himself helps men
and animals (Ps 36, 8). The Pharisees “Could not respond anything to these
words”; because before the evidence, there are no arguments which can deny
4) Personal questions
● The liberty of Jesus before a
situation. Even though he is being observed by those who do not approve him, he
does not lose his liberty. Which is the liberty that I have?
● There are difficult moments in
life, in which we are obliged to choose between the immediate need of our
neighbour and the letter of the law. How should we act?
5) Concluding prayer
I give thanks to
Yahweh with all my heart,
meeting-place of honest people, in the assembly.
Great are the
deeds of Yahweh,
to be pondered by all who delight in them. (Ps 111,1-2)