Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Lord in the Scriptures, calling on all of us Christians to be true bearers of the Lord’s truth and to follow Him in His ways with understanding and comprehension what it means for us to be the followers of Christ. Otherwise, we will end up having an empty and superficial faith as what the Lord warned us against in the Gospel today.
In the Gospel passage, the Lord Jesus went up against the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, present in the synagogue where He performed a healing miracle on a woman who had been possessed by an evil spirit that caused her to suffer physically for a long time, eighteen years long. The synagogue elders, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law among them contended that the Lord Jesus had made a grave mistake by doing what the Law of Moses told them not to do on a Sabbath day.
The Lord rebuked them because they had in fact misunderstood and misinterpreted the meaning and intention of the laws of the Sabbath as revealed to Moses. They thought and adamantly insisted that the people of God could not do anything and any work at all, during the day of the Sabbath, deemed to be sacred as it had been hallowed by God Himself as a day of rest and a holy day of the Lord.
But, this contradicted the true spirit of the Law of God, as the Lord’s second out of ten commandments would show, that the faithful are all called to keep holy the day of the Lord. Keeping the day of the Lord and being idle and doing nothing is not the same, and it is indeed possible for someone to be idle and doing nothing, and yet committing sin in his mind and heart, by evil thoughts and intentions. And worse still, we must not forget that there is something called the sin of omission.
What is this sin of omission? That was exactly what the Lord Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law for. In their shallow and superficial understanding of the Law of God, and the external application of its tenets, they have forgotten, that God would not have wanted the old woman to suffer any longer, even a single day longer. God loves each and every one of us so much, that He could not have allowed Satan to have dominion over one of His beloved children, even a moment longer.
The Lord Jesus said that, if one is capable of doing something good for others and for God, as what Jesus was perfectly capable of, in healing the woman and freeing her from the dominion of the evil spirits, then he or she should do it, even during the Sabbath. The Lord’s intention of enacting the Law of the Sabbath was in fact to remind the people of God that they must focus their attention in life on Him, and to do what is right according to what He had taught them.
Many of them had been so preoccupied by the worldly concerns, and the temptations in life, that they had forgotten about God and His ways, and became wayward. Therefore, by the enactment of the Sabbath, they were reminded that the Lord is paramount and as the centre of the life of all the faithful, that they ought to withdraw and get away from all their preoccupations and the temptations they endured, and refocus their attention on the Lord.
Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, we can see that there were those who have misunderstood the intention of the Law, like the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. How about us, then? Have we also misunderstood the intention of what God has taught and revealed to us through His Church? Have we been living our faith life thus far, with nothing more than just fulfilling our obligations, for example, going for regular Sunday Masses and others, but without understanding their importance and significance for our faith and spiritual life?
Perhaps it is time now for us to turn towards the Lord, with a renewed spirit and with a new zeal and love for Him. Let us all seek to understand our faith more deeply and connect ourselves to the Lord more intimately from now on. May the Lord be with us, and may He continue to bless us and protect us, now and always. Amen.