Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath and a crippled woman was there. An evil spirit had kept her bent for eighteen years so that she could not straighten up at all. On seeing her, Jesus called her and said, «Woman, you are freed from your infirmity». Then He laid his hands upon her and immediately she was made straight and praised God.
But the ruler of the synagogue was indignant because Jesus had performed this healing on the Sabbath day and he said to the people, «There are six days in which to work; come on those days to be healed and not on the Sabbath». But the Lord replied, «You hypocrites! Everyone of you unties his ox or his donkey on the Sabbath and leads it out of the barn to give it water. And here you have a daughter of Abraham whom Satan had bound for eighteen years. Should she not be freed from her bonds on the Sabbath?». When Jesus said this, all his opponents felt ashamed. But the people rejoiced at the many wonders that happened through him.
«But the ruler of the synagogue was indignant because Jesus had performed this healing on the Sabbath day...»
Fr. Francesc JORDANA i Soler
(Mirasol, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, we can see how Jesus carries out an action that loudly proclaims his interpretation of messianic fulfillment. And how, in front of it, the ruler of the synagogue gets outraged and scolds people for coming to be healed on a Saturday: «There are six days in which to work; come on those days to be healed and not on the Sabbath» (Lk 13:14).
I would like to center this commentary upon this character's attitude. I have always been surprised at how, before an evident miracle, there is always someone who is able to close his eyes in such a way that he remains totally unconcerned. Had he not seen what happened or what it means, it would be the same. The reason being, though, that many Jews in those days had a wrong experience of intermediations. For different reasons —anthropological, cultural, divine designs— it is unavoidable that between God and man some intermediations must exist. The problem is that, some Jews made of this intermediation something absolute. With the end result that the intermediation did not bring them into communication with God but, rather, they remained stuck in the very intermediation. They forgot the final true meaning and stayed put, instead, in the intent. And, thus, God cannot pass on to them neither his grace, nor his gifts and love, their religious experience not enriching, then, their life.
All this took them to live a rigorous religious experience, shutting down their god within strict limits. They manufactured a custom-made god, which they did not let into their lives. In their religiosity they believed all was well provided the stayed within certain rules. We can, thus, understand Jesus' reaction: «You hypocrites! Everyone of you unties his ox or his donkey on the Sabbath and leads it out of the barn to give it water?» (Lk 13:15). Jesus uncovers the absurdity of this wrong experience of the Sabbath.
God's words should help us to examine our own religious experience and to find out whether the intermediations we use actually bring us into communication with God and with life. St. Augustine's phrase, «Love and do what you will», can only be understood as the correct experience of intermediations.