Daily Meditation - Friday 31st October 2008 - ENSNARED IN LEGALISM


Daily Prayers and Liturgy Thread
(Two Posts daily)

**[FONT=Arial Black]Readings & Meditation

[/FONT]How do you approach the commandment to observe the sabbath as a day of rest? **

*][LEFT]The Pharisees were convinced that Jesus was a reckless Sabbath-breaker. [/LEFT]
*][LEFT]The gospels record seven incidents in which Jesus healed on the Sabbath – the seventh day of the week set apart for rest and worship.[/LEFT]
*][LEFT] You would think Jesus’ miracles on the Sabbath would draw admiration and gratitude from all.[/LEFT]
Unfortunately, each incident seemed to incite increasing hostility from the religious leaders who held an intrepetation that here




● 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 it.


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