Posted under Reflections on October 26th, 2010 by

He was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, "Woman, you are set free of your infirmity." He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.  But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, "There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day." The Lord said to him in reply, "Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?" (Lk 13:10-17)



The woman was crippled by the spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and incapable of standing. The description of the physical condition of the woman is quite pathetic. The time duration of her suffering also is quite long. Anyone seeing this condition should feel for her and do something to help her out. This should have been the reaction of anyone.


The leader of the synagogue sees the time duration (Sabbath). The condition of the situation and the surrounding is that nothing should be done (inactivity). Time of rest and time in which nothing should around, no emotion is to be expressed, no sympathy to be shown etc. (time of death-like).


Yet people do go out of their way to help the animals to feed them and give them water etc. Sympathy, concern, and care are shown to the animals because they are creatures and they need assistance.  Taking the same argument this woman should be shown care and concern. But much more than this the woman is a daughter of Abraham so there should be greater concern for her.     


Posted under Reflections on October 23rd, 2010 by

 He then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. "Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, 'O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity– greedy, dishonest, adulterous– or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.' But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, 'O God, be merciful to me a sinner.' I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted." (Lk 18:9-14)



Could we say that one behaves according to his attitude towards God? The Pharisee thinks that God is a judge and a rigorous one at that. God gives an account of all what one does and hence one has to regularly give the correct account to God. This is what the Pharisee is doing in this parable. So the relationship with God is more of listing of things. Indirectly this also makes him compare himself with the other. Even moral values become a commodity to be compared with or to be calculated about.


The tax collector thinks of God as a merciful God. The relationship is more personal. He does not compare himself with the other persons. He only speaks about his integrity – his life within himself. God is the one who constantly pours mercies on the people. His prayer is only his presence in front of God.


Vindication by God is seen in the attitude of the person in front of God in his sufferings, holiness and service. Vindication will not be seen in the outward badges of virtue, and in the minute observance of Jewish laws.  Vindication is seen in the genuine penitence and genuine casting of oneself on the mercies of God. 

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