Oct 30 2020 Reflection
Friday 30 October 2020
First Reading: PHIL 1:1-11
How great are the works of the Lord!
PS 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Gospel Reading: LK 14:1-6
Today’s Note: Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.
In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy.
Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking,
“Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?”
But they kept silent; so he took the man and,
after he had healed him, dismissed him.
Then he said to them
“Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern,
would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?”
But they were unable to answer his question.
Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern, would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day? (Luke 14:5)
“All you need is love.” We could sing this song to the Pharisees and scholars in today’s Gospel. That’s what sums up the heart of the law, not “All you need is rules.” We know that the goal of all the commandments is to help us love God and his people.
When Jesus likens the man with dropsy to a scholar’s son in today’s Gospel passage, he is trying to help the people see how all of the law is at the service of these two great commands to live in love. This fellow suffering with dropsy wasn’t some random person; he was a son of God, a brother in the family of God. Healing him was loving him, and loving him was keeping the law.
It may seem obvious that helping someone on a Sunday wouldn’t displease God. But sometimes we can lose sight of the bigger picture of how to live God’s commands in everyday life. For example, let’s say we get frustrated when we show up late to church because we were struggling to get our kids out the door. While it’s good that we want to get to Mass on time, it’s not so important that we should lose our cool with our family. It’s good to take time to pray each day, but when a troubled friend calls in the middle of our prayer time, we may need to spend the time listening to that person instead.
Working things out like this can be messy and humbling. It’s not easy to be peaceful when our expectations are upended. It certainly wasn’t easy for the Pharisees to surrender their expectations and ideas about what it meant to keep the law. It was challenging for them to receive Jesus’ teaching; it revealed that they still had room to grow in understanding and implementing the heart of the law.
Jesus wants to keep teaching us how to live out the law—with love—in our everyday lives. If we’re humble, teachable, and open to receiving fresh understanding, he will keep guiding us so that we can love as he loves.
“Jesus, what new ‘lesson’ do you want to teach me today? Open my heart to receive it.”