"[L]ive in love . . .” (Ephesians 5:2).
In today’s Gospel we are met with an all too familiar scene: Jesus being challenged by a religious leader and ultimately proving them wrong. Once again we find those in power trying to trick Christ, or somehow find an error in His actions.
The fact that the leader of the synagogue is searching for some weakness in Jesus does not surprise me. What does surprise me is that he saw Jesus’ healing of the crippled woman as “work.”
The description of this event does not include Christ having to move mountains or build cities or do anything super laborious. He simply speaks to the woman, tells her she is healed, and embraces her.
He loves her.
Initially, my mind wants to criticize this man for looking at an act of love as work. How could he possibly admonish Jesus for loving this woman and restoring her health? How can Jesus’ love for this woman be seen as unlawful? It is easy to condemn his words and actions, just as he condemned those of Christ.
But what about those times where I have chosen not to love because it seemed like a burden or too much work? And how could I explain those times when I have judged someone else’s act of compassion as being "wrong" without knowing their heart or motives?
Thanks be to God, Jesus uses this critique as a teachable moment—a moment where He assures the woman and those gathered that there is no day or time when you cannot reach out to the Lord for healing. He is ready and waiting to set you free from whatever is weighing on your heart.
God’s love for us is relentless—even on the day of rest.
Whom are you not choosing to love today because it's too hard? Make small goals to work toward being more loving toward them, especially if that person is you yourself.
Sarah Stanley is a small town Ohio girl who is mildly obsessed with all things Ignatian and is very passionate about faith, social justice, and the intersection of the two. She recently earned her Master of Divinity and now serves as the Director of Christian Service at a high school in New England. When she’s not working, she enjoys contagious laughter, travel, clever puns, and finding the good in all things. You can find out more about her here.