Friday, November 03, 2006
Bl. Rupert Mayer, S.J. (03 Nov 2006) Phil 1. 1-11; Ps 111; Lk 14. 1-6
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Silent and Hostile?
Whenever Jesus dined on a Sabbath with a Pharisee, especially a leader of them, trouble boiled. This was the case in the gospel selection we just heard, and in succeeding selections which we’ll hear on the next three weekdays.
I offer you two observations for your own prayer and reflection. I owe my patron the credit because St. Paul, who wrote with such affection to the church at Philippi, opened my heart to deeper affection with Christ and for his gospel.
Jesus demonstrated affection for the man with dropsy, a condition we know as edema. The Greek name describes too much water in one’s system. The swelling effect of that chronic condition Jesus and other’s could see. Before Jesus healed the man, Jesus asked the Pharisee and his guests if it were legal to heal on the Sabbath. Curiously, they remained silent. In legal debate--then as it can be today--silence was a sign of? ...yes, of assent. Of course Jesus knew as we do that his host in no way assented.
But something more curious passed Jesus’ lips. “Who among you, if your child or ox falls into a cistern, would not immediately go to the rescue on the sabbath day?” In the legal jargon of Israel, child and ox never appeared. Donkey and ox did, not child and ox. No reason exists to doubt Jesus said child and ox. I suggest that more than humanize the situation, Jesus’ affection for the vulnerable overflowed his heart even to those who rejected him. All the more does Jesus pour out his affection to us who accept him as Lord!
I suggest for your prayer and reflection that you ask the healed man to intercede for you. Even ask the imaginary child to be your intercessor in order that Jesus grace your heart to warm it more and to make it more compassionate toward Christ and to him in all his sisters and brothers you encounter. Ask Jesus to make your affection grow more eloquent and never remain silent.