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Cure of a crippled woman on the Sabbath

Gospel Reading: Lk 13:10-17

Jesus 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?” When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated; and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.


The synagogue leader argues that the healing could wait. Jesus has violated laws of working on the Sabbath (cf Ex 20:9-10; Dt 5:12-14). Jesus responds sternly, addressing those who agree with the synagogue ruler as “hypocrites.” He cites an example of their practice by raising a question that in Greek expects a positive reply. Do they not lead their donkey or ox to water on the Sabbath? If people show so much compassion to animals on the Sabbath, how much more compassion should a human receive! Jesus drives the point home. Should not this woman, bound by Satan for 18 years, be set free on the Sabbath? What more appropriate day for this to happen to a daughter of Abraham, a daughter of promise? What more appropriate day to defeat Satan and release people from his bonds than the day of rest when God is contemplated? Here is a day to remember God and celebrate the goodness of his healing grace. Jesus is truly exercising his ministry of deliverance and release. He is Lord of the Sabbath (cf 6:5). Yet Jesus’ approach to the issue is the exact opposite of the Jewish leadership’s view. Hence, Jesus’ ministry of compassion is highlighted.

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To be a Christian is to live our lives within the horizon of Jesus’ compassionate lifestyle.

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SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.