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OCTOBER 29. Ord Time B. Wk 30. Fri. 14. 1-6

Now on a sabbath day Jesus had gone for a meal to the house of one of the leading Pharisees; and they watched him closely. There in front of him was a man with dropsy, and Jesus addressed the lawyers and Pharisees. ‘Is it against the law’ he asked ‘to cure a man on the sabbath, or not?’ But they 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 hesitation?’ And to this they could find no answer.


It would seem the Pharisees had organised a meal for Jesus where “they could watch him closely”; - having not only invited him for the meal, but they also invited a man with dropsy; - a highly unlikely event in normal circumstances.


Again and again, we find the Pharisees and scribes trying to trap Jesus into breaking some of the laws for which they were responsible as those with authority. The problem here is they were focused on the implementation of man-made laws, while Jesus was focused on the implementation of his Father’s divine law; - the law of Love and Mercy!


In today’s reading these contrasting views are well illustrated, with Jesus asking the Pharisees; - “Is it against the law to cure a man on the sabbath, or not?” In asking the question Jesus is seeking to determine which is more important; - the upholding of the man-made law, or the showing of love and mercy to one who is suffering; - but the Pharisees “remained silent!”


And, as if to illustrate the hypocrisy of their attitude, Jesus then continued the same argument, asking, “Which of you, if his son falls into a well, or his ox, will not pull him out on a sabbath day without hesitation?” – and the Pharisees responded in exactly the same way; - “They could find no answer!”


One of the most common miracles Jesus performed during his public life was the condition of blindness; - physical blindness, but the blindness of the Pharisees was of a very different kind as they were unable to “see” the difference between right and wrong; - between pride and humility; - between legalism and mercy; - a condition much worse than physical blindness, as their hearts and minds were “blind!”


Jesus had illustrated this same difficulty with the Pharisees earlier when he told them, “John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you said ‘he has a demon’. But then the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you said, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!”


At least the Pharisees were consistent in their thinking. At a previous meal, again in a Pharisee’s house, a sinful woman came in and anointed the feet of Jesus. In response the Pharisee said to himself, “if this man was a Prophet, he would know who is touching him, and what kind of woman she is; - a sinner’; - not understanding Jesus came to call sinners!


And Jesus highlighted this hardness of heart on another occasion when talking to his disciples; - ‘The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So, practice and observe everything they tell you, but do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach They tie up heavy burdensome loads, and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them!’ – What a tragedy it is when the human heart is unable to ‘see’ the truth?


Gospel Acclamation Jn10:27


Alleluia, alleluia!

My sheep listen to my voice, says the Lord;

I know them, and they follow me.

Alleluia!


First reading Romans 9:1-5 ·

I would willingly be condemned if it could help my brothers


What I want to say now is no pretence; I say it in union with Christ – it is the truth – my conscience in union with the Holy Spirit assures me of it too. What I want to say is this: my sorrow is so great, my mental anguish so endless, I would willingly be condemned and be cut off from Christ if it could help my brothers of Israel, my own flesh and blood. They were adopted as sons, they were given the glory and the covenants; the Law and the ritual were drawn up for them, and the promises were made to them. They are descended from the patriarchs and from their flesh and blood came Christ who is above all, God for ever blessed! Amen.







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