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Monday of the Thirtieth week in Ordinary Time

My dear encountered couples:

As Jesus was teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath, he noticed a woman who was there. She was completely bent over and unable to stand erect. When Jesus saw the woman he called to her and said: “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” Then he laid his hands on her and immediately she stood up straight. The woman began praising and glorifying God for the wondrous gift Jesus had given her. And the whole crowd rejoiced at the splendid deeds done by Jesus.

Curing this woman not only took divine power, it took compassion and courage. Jesus had all of those. We might refer to Jesus as meek and mild, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t take a firm stand for goodness and common sense. Both of which at this time, on this Sabbath day, called for the cure of the woman who had been badly stooped and possessed by a spirit for eighteen years.

Are we to live blindly obedient to authority without question and without taking any responsibility to ourselves? Are we to march in goose-step coordination to God, country, or Church? I think we would all say we are certainly to do so when it comes to God. But are his laws and commandments always interpreted as he intends them to be? Or does the interpretation sometimes get a bit distorted?

We are to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. That’s the most important commandment as stated by Jesus Christ. And we are to do it at all times and in all circumstances. But who’s to make the on-the-spot decision as to what truly is loving God and neighbor in the here and now? We are. You are. I am.

As Jesus decided what was the best act of love for him to show this woman at that particularly time, which happened to be a Sabbath day of prescribed-by-law rest, you and I are to make the decisions that will best affect the people in our lives. Not always easy to do, but we must not think for a minute we have God’s permission to push the responsibility off on someone else, not even off onto the shoulders of legitimate authority. Being Christian is not easy. It takes a lot of our own decision making and will power.

Let us pray that we will always have it in us to carry out our personal responsibilities towards our fellow men and women. We pray for the gift of compassion, especially for those for whom we do not easily respond to with compassion. Knowing that God wants us to use our gifts in service to others, we ask God to help us know how we can best companion others.

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